How To Stop Yourself Being Ticklish – with Dr Emily Grossman

It’s actually pretty hard to pin
down a scientific definition of tickling. And this is probably because it’s a
phenomenon that involves a range of sensory and neurological
elements. Because of this the evolutionary significance of tickling is also unclear. In other words – why do we
feel ticklish? Some suggest that tickling is socially significant promoting bonding between us and our friends. Others think that is serves as an alarm system to alert us to the feeling of something crawling on our skin. Which only becomes funny once we realise
that the sensations are coming from another human being. But have you ever tried to tickle
your self? It just doesn’t work, does it? But why? Well, here we have a person. Hello person. A’right? Inside this person is a human brain. And inside the brain there is an area called the cerebellum which can make predictions as to how
sensations on your skin will feel caused by your own movements. So when you go to tickle yourself… Your brain already has a pretty good idea of
where that sensation will occur and therefore how it’ll feel. So it suppresses the tickle response. Interestingly, scientists have been able to demonstrate
decreased activity in the areas of the brain associated
with the tickle response when people attempt to tickle
themselves. So the tickly feelings of someone else tickling you… Come from the fact that your brain isn’t
able to make predictions as to how the sensations will feel on your skin and therefore can’t suppress the tickle
response which serves to alert you to the ticklers presence. Now the best part about this is that this information Can help you to disarm a potential tickler! The next time someone attempts to
tickle you simply place your hands on top of theirs. This will allow your brain to better
predict the sensations of their hands and therefore suppress and ultimately
protect you from the tickle response.


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