How To Stop Yourself From Being Ticklish

Photographed by Nina Westervelt.
Sometimes, tickling can be great. But, it seems like 99% of the time, it goes way too far. Thankfully, this new video from The Royal Institution includes a genius trick for ending the giggle fit.

As we've written before, there's a bit of uncertainty around the concept of being ticklish. Although scientists don't know exactly where the reaction comes from, many suspect there's an evolutionary reason for it, since other primates show similar behavior. Tickling and the resulting laughter may even have developed as a defense mechanism to show little ones where they're vulnerable during play.

But, as Emily Grossman, PhD, explains in this new video, a lot of our ticklishness stems from action in one brain area: the cerebellum. This thing does a lot, including predicting how sensations on your skin will feel — but only if you're the one causing them.

This means that, as demonstrated in the video below, you can stop the involuntary laughing by tricking the cerebellum into perceiving the tickling as coming from you. To do so, simply put your hand on top of your tickle-attacker's to show the cerebellum what's up. 
Video: via YouTube.

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