Why People Laugh When They Get Tickled – The Reason Is Fascinating

German researchers have finally discovered the reason behind hysteria that follows when someone tickles a person. Do not be fooled into thinking that it is because a person feels it is funny, because that is clearly not the case here. Scientists at the University of Tuebingen believe that the process stimulates the region in our brains that copes with pain. That explains why you more than just flinch when somebody attempts to tickle you all of a sudden.

baby tickling


All that laughter which follows the tickling is deemed to be a defense mechanism by the body in order to depict one’s submissiveness to the act. Researchers are also of the view that this reaction to tickling dates way back to the period of early men. It is no surprise that the parts that tickle most happen to be the weakest parts of the body like the stomach and the neck. Researchers believe that parents used to tickle their children in order to train them how they must react when in danger.

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The researchers conducted a study with the help of 30 volunteers who were hooked to MRI scanners. They attempted to figure why tickling induced laughter which is the same reaction to a genuinely funny joke. The volunteers would have to laugh whenever they found something funny upon which their brains would be monitored as they were stimulated on the feet. In a way, this explains why one can not actually tickle oneself – one’s brain is alert to the fact that there is no threat involved in the process.

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Researchers concluded that laughing as well as tickling activated a region in the brain known as Rolandic Operculum which controls emotional and vocal reactions along with facial gestures. They were able to tell plan laughter from tickling laughter as they realized that tickling additionally induces hypothalamus that controls hunger, temperature, tiredness as well as sexual behaviour. Thus, it is no surprise that the same region of the brain is also responsible for impulsive behaviour.

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