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Why Do People Get Tickled?

Tickling is the body’s reaction to sensitive areas when touched. This reaction of a person to the tickling action is defined as shivering or laughing. What emotion it creates, how it is perceived, depends on how sensitive people are to tickling. Some people are ticklish, others are not ticklish at all.

Although scientists have been conducting research on tickling for hundreds of years, this issue has not been fully resolved. The benefit of tickling is not fully understood but only possible explanations. When viewed scientifically, tickling; It is a reaction that starts after the act of touch, when the nerve endings in that area act and send a signal to the brain.

Types of Tickling

There are two types of tickling.

Knismesis; It is the tickle that occurs when the skin is slightly stimulated by running a feather on the skin or by putting an insect. Knismesis, which appears with a slight urge; it is very itchy. According to some researchers, it is a reaction that takes place in our defense mechanism to protect ourselves against insect bites. With this tickling style, which is described as pleasant and light, a person can tickle himself.

Gargalesis; it is a more intense tickling, causing a laugh when someone constantly touches a sensitive area of ​​the body. People can never tickle themselves that way.

Some people believe that the tickle response is protective. Areas such as the abdomen and throat, which are among the plump parts of our body, are the most vulnerable. These sensitive areas are protected by an automatic reflex-like response to eliminate the cause. Even if this reaction is not liked by some people, it can cause laughter. Even if they laughed at tears, this is not a sign of joy.

The Effect of Tickling on Hypotolamus

In 2013, a group of scientists conduct a series of tests on this topic. In a study conducted on individuals who do not like to be tickled, it was observed that these individuals were tickled at their feet and laughed involuntarily. When their brain activities were examined with MRI while they were laughing, they found that the hypotolamus region was active. It has been observed that blood pressure rises and the pulse beats rapidly. In addition, it has been stated that people who do not like tickling experience stimulation in the pain area of ​​the brain during this process. This is an answer to why some people react to being tickled and why they want to avoid being tickled.

In another MR study conducted in the same period; It has been found that the brain responds differently depending on whether the laughter is due to tickling or joking with friends. This is the reflex given by the body in response to the question “Why do some get ticklish” for those with Teak. A person laughs more when they know they are ticklish and when they get a surprise tickling. This could explain why people can’t tickle themselves. Whether a person has a tic determines that person’s sensitivity. The tickling response depends partly on the person’s mood. When people are sad or angry, they are generally less ticklish.

In the test studies conducted on mice in 2016; It has been found that mice in a state of fear and panic are less susceptible to tickling. This situation may also apply to humans. A person’s sensitivity also depends on who tickles him so that tickling by a friend produces a stronger tickling response than a stranger.

Why Some People Get Tickle While Others Don’t?

Researchers do not know why some people are more affected than others. Some think that Teak may be genetic, but there is no conclusive research to support this theory. Some people get tickle in certain parts of the body, while others do not tickle from the same areas. For example, one may be very affected by the feet under the armpits, while the other may be affected by the armpits. Some people are more sensitive than others, as skin sensitivity plays a role in how much tickle a person will be affected by. Partially or completely desensitized nerves change the sensitivity of tickling.

A significant change in the nervous system’s responses may indicate a problem with the nerves. People who suddenly lose their tickling reflex should see a doctor.

Are Babies and Pets Tickled?

Tickling isn’t just specific to adult humans. Other mammals, including monkeys and mice, also show a tickle response to insects such as ticks. Babies, on the other hand, cannot respond to this effect until they are about 6 months old.

Statistical Data

In the statistical studies on this subject, 99% of people get tickle while 1% do not. Getting angry with someone who is wanted to tickle and joke is in the group that is not tickled. Brunette and brown people get more tickle than redheads, which is related to the tickling threshold. The area where the tickle is removed varies according to the person. Some take too much under the neck, while some get too ticklish from the belly. The most reacted area is the soles of the feet.

Can tickling be a tool of torture?

In the ancient Roman period, tickling was used as a torture. A saline solution was made, rubbed on the feet of the person to be tortured, and then licked by a goat. Even if their head seemed like a simple laughter, the emotions that turned into fear and anxiety in the future caused pain over time. In 1984, the movie Postman, starring Fatma Girik and Kemal Sunal, was also sampled humorously.

This torture method used by the Japanese during the wartime was a form of torture that led to death in prisoners and war criminals who wanted to be spoken. The method, which is made to tickle the soles of the feet, was used by the Japanese until the middle ages.

In prison camps where torture was also carried out in this way in Nazi Germany, prisoners were tickled in chains with a goose feather in their armpits, feet and legs. Forcing himself not to laugh, the prisoner later laughed until tears in his eyes and could not escape because he was chained. The prisoner, who went from laughter to madness, was unchained and watched. The psychological torture would continue for the person who was in confusion.

Tickle; Although it is still described as a pleasant feeling for some and a bad feeling for some, it is a puzzle filled with question marks for scientists. For children, it is a game and a source of happiness.


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