Scientists discover why we don’t laugh when we tickle ourselves

(ORDO NEWS) — German neuroscientists have described how the brain reacts to a person’s attempt to tickle himself. And they also revealed the most “ticklish” parts of our body.

Humans aren’t the only mammals that are ticklish. It is found in dolphins, dogs, rats, and chimpanzees. Nevertheless, about such a literally ridiculous issue as tickling, science knows little. Until now, for example, it is not clear why some touches make us laugh, while others are extremely unpleasant.

It is also not clear why some people are afraid of being tickled, while others do not respond to it, for what reason some parts of our body are more sensitive to touch, while others are less. But the most intriguing mystery is: Why don’t we laugh when we tickle ourselves?

The answer to this seemingly “childish” question required a whole study conducted by scientists from the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (Germany). 12 volunteers participated in the delicate experiment of neuroscientists.

The study included several stages. Initially, the participants were asked to expose their underarms and feet so that their partners could tickle them.

Before that, the volunteers were given some time to get to know each other. The whole process was filmed on cameras: one was aimed at the face, the other at the part of the body that was supposed to be tickled.

By studying these videos, scientists found that the first reaction to being tickled, as expected, was a change in facial expression. After about 300 milliseconds, a smile began to form, followed by a change in breathing.

Another 200 milliseconds later, the subjects began to laugh. The volunteers were then asked to rate how ticklish they were when they touched certain parts of the body. The most “ticklish” were the feet.

In the second part of the experiment, participants were asked to tickle themselves while their partner did the same to them.

And here the researchers found an interesting point: the vocalization of laughter when touching the same parts of the body as in the first part of the experiment decreased: people reacted to being tickled by another person less if they “helped” him at the same time.

According to scientists, this effect is due to the fact that while touching our own body, our brain sends signals through it that temporarily suppress the sensitivity to touch. Otherwise, we’d be giggling while putting on socks or scratching our armpits.

By the way, people with the so-called delusions of influence are able to laugh even from their own touches.

This disorder is characterized by the fact that it seems to a person that it is not he who controls his actions, but someone else (special services, aliens, and so on). This syndrome also includes delusions of psychological influence (“voices in the head”).

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