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Why do you laugh when tickled?

You definitely don’t spend a great deal of time learning about laughter in medical school. I know that doesn’t surprise you since physicians are such serious people. The closest they come to humor is the physiological study of laughter- gelotology. There is even a form of seizures called gelastic seizures that causes sufferers to laugh incessantly.
Laughter is a complex process that requires the coordination of many muscles throughout the body. Laughter also causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, breathing changes, reduced levels of certain neurochemicals, and a potential boost to the immune system. So, overall it is a very good for you.
Researchers have attempted to decipher the purpose of laughter and many believe that the reason for laughter is related to making and strengthening human connections, a kind of social signal. Studies have shown that people are thirty times more likely to laugh in social settings than when they are alone. Reports also suggest that the origins of laughter may predate human evolution.
So, what about the connection between tickling and laughing?
Well this tickling- induced laughter is actually a reflex. Scientists don’t fully understand how this works, but because you cannot tickle yourself, the reflex seems to require an element of surprise.


From: Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner & Billy Goldberg, M.D.


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All the information contained here is of a very general nature. For specific diagnoses and treatment plans, please consult your dermatologist and/or primary care physician.

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