Interesting Facts

The Self-Tickle Paradox: Why You Shouldn't Tickle Yourself

Brain – an amazing thing that controls the processes occurring throughout the body.  One example of the power of the brain is the tickling paradox: when someone tickles you, you get tickled, and when you tickle yourself – no. This is the pure truth – you can check for yourself, this experiment is absolutely safe for health! will tell you why you shouldn't tickle yourself. That is, you can tickle yourself, of course, but it won’t tickle you.

Why can't you tickle yourself? It's all about the brain

In search of an answer to the question of why you shouldn't tickle yourself, neuroscientists conducted many experiments in which they tried by all means to achieve laughter from a person tickling himself.

This interest of scientists is explained by the desire to better understand the human brain. It is amazing that he is able to distinguish the touch of a person's own hands from the touch of other people. Sarah-Jane Blakemore of University College London has taken up this issue in earnest. The brains of volunteers subjected to tickling and attempting to tickle themselves were scanned to study its activity during both processes.

It turned out that the cerebellum predicts how your hand will move and gives the command to reduce the activity of the motor cortex. Thus, the sensations from self-tickling are of a lower intensity than with the usual tickling process. In other words, your brain does not allow you to tickle yourself to laughter.

Why can't you tickle yourself and is it possible to deceive the brain?

The next question that interested scientists, – Is it possible to bypass the protection of the brain by deceiving it. For this, a special mechanism was created that allowed the sponge to come into contact with the palm. The mechanism was controlled by test volunteers. In one part of the experiment, the movements of the sponge were synchronized with the movement of the participants in the experiment, in the other – occurred 200 milliseconds later. In the delayed case, the sponge sensations were more intense. Experimenters believe that the reason lies in the discrepancy between the prediction of the cerebellum and real sensations.

Later, scientists managed to achieve successful self-tickling through magnetic stimulation: the hand of the participants in the experiment tickled the leg against the will of the participant himself. So far, this is the only successful experiment.

Further sophistication of scientists who already knew why you shouldn’t tickle yourself, but tried to achieve this, is simply amazing

  1. An experiment using special glasses that allow the subject to see what is happening through the eyes of the experimenter and create the illusion of being in his body. The experimenters expected that the illusion of being in someone else's body would help them cope with the task and achieve the intense sensations of self-tickling. However, the experiment was not successful.
  2. Sleep experiment. Volunteers who are able to control their dreams were asked to tickle themselves in their sleep – intense sensations could not be achieved even in the state of sleep (at the same time, neither the main nor the other heroes of the dream could cause the laughter of a sleeping person from being tickled).

Specialists are also interested in the question of why it is impossible to tickle yourself if a person is mentally healthy, but schizophrenic patients manage to do it. They assume that schizophrenics are completely sure that the other person controls the movements.

Study of the self-tickle paradox continues. The researchers hope that the information obtained will help to better understand the causes of mental disorders. In addition, the question of why you can not tickle yourself will help in improving artificial intelligence. Experts believe that the creation of ticklish robots that can distinguish the source of touch will be a huge step in the development of this field.

Read also: "Looking into the Mirror of the Soul: 38 Surprising Eye Facts"

  • Comments (2)

    11 января 2016, 12:47

    Еще интересно, что до оргазма себя довести можно :)

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Why you can’t tickle yourself and is it possible to deceive the brain

The question “why not to tickle yourself” aroused great interest among neurophysiologists. In search of an answer, many experiments were carried out, during which experimenters tried to achieve laughter from self-tickling.

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