The Science of Tickle

One of my cousins had a habit of tickling everyone around. He used to enjoy this game so much that the ticking sessions used to last very long. Though his action used to make me laugh but I thought I might die someday with the excessive riot of laughter. Thank god we all are grown up now & his tickling torture has ended finally. However, while growing up I always wondered, “Why am I so ticklish?” So, I researched a bit & now I know what it is all about.

How it happens?

Think of that slow & soft move of fingers on your belly & you can’t help but burst out with laughter. Some of us also get Goosebumps when we feel such tickle. Most of the time we just can’t control this laugh & feel we would not be able to bear it for very long. So, the science suggests that when someone tickle us at a particular spot the nerves placed in that region of skin send touch & pain related signals to our brain. Our brain processes these signals & release Endorphin which causes laughter. However interesting thing is that people who are more sensitive towards tickle sometimes starts laughing even before being touched. Isn’t amazingly interesting?

Can you tickle yourself?

Has it ever occurred to you that we often touch our body parts for bath kinds of activities but we don’t get the ticklish feeling? In this sphere studies suggested that the skin doesn’t send similar signals as compared to being touched by others. Hence, our brain doesn’t get that element of surprise & shock to invoke involuntary laughter.

Social aspects related to Tickling

While we  might presume that tickling is just an innocent way of showing closeness to someone , things are different in several cases. In many countries prisoners were tortured using merciless tickling. This was considered very brutal punishment. Also, in one of the book named “Sibling Abuse” highlighted 150 cases of adults who confirmed being abused by their siblings during younger age. These people never liked those tickle episodes & developed severe psychological disorders.

Finally, we all know why do we feel the sharp urge to laugh & sensation when someone tickles us. Though, it is indeed a sign of closeness between two people when they tickle each other. But, always be little mindful while tickling little kids & elders. They might not find it very comfortable to end up in a serious medical situation. So, tickle a bit & have a hearty laugh.