Who among us can keep a straight expression when someone tickles it?
Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we do. For some of us, it is just above the knee, for others, it’s the back of the neck, and still, for some of us, it is our sides.
Whether or not, this person is someone we tend to love and does so in an atmosphere of friendliness, romance, or a friend who tries to disturb us and bother us.
However sooner or later one day you must have questioned, why don’t we laugh when we tickle ourselves? Does this indicate a health problem, or is it utterly normal?
Are you certain your hand is part of your body?
While you read these words and click your computer buttons with your fingers or touch the screen of your smartphone, you are undoubtedly certain that your hand is part of your body, while the computer or mobile device does not belong to your body.
But if you think your awareness of this fact is so simple, you are wrong!
The brain depends on wide and complex mechanisms to distinguish your body from the world around you.
And when these mechanisms are disturbed – as happens in some mental illnesses such as schizophrenia – the patient can believe that his hand or leg does not belong to him, or he may believe that there are external forces that control his actions and movements.
That is, he loses his awareness of his own body.
In normal situations, your brain closely monitors your body through various senses, including the sense of touch without a doubt.
Each time you click on the keyboard, a group of letters will flow from your brain towards your hand and spinal cord.
And once the brain gives orders to the hand to move, it makes 2 copies of the same thing, one that goes to the hand to move, while the other remains as a reference for the brain to be able to predict what will happen next.
As soon as the desired movement takes place, the hand in return sends signals to the brain to tell it what happened on the ground, and then the brain compares this movement with the reference copy it has, and it realizes whether things went well or not.
So why can’t we tickle ourselves?
If we understand the previous idea, then we can now move on to answer our question.
The brain expects what will happen when you move your hand to tickle yourself, and you can compare this to what happens to you when someone makes a joke you already know or you can expect its end, this makes them less funny, right ?.
But it’s not just that, something else happens when you tickle yourself, making it different from tickling others for you.
In 2000, a study was conducted by neuroscientist Sarah.J.Blackmore, who photographed the brains of studied participants to see how their brains responded when they were tickled by a robot, and compared them to what happens when they tickle themselves.
However, the experiment included an additional trick, as the participants could control the robot and give him orders to tickle them with a delay or modification of the robot’s movement, that is, the participants could command the robot to move to tickle them, but this movement would be delayed for a short period or would come from a totally different angle.
Expected and exciting results
Perhaps you will be able to expect the results of the study, the participants felt more tickled when they were tickled by the robot without controlling it, while they felt the least possible when they tickled themselves.
But the interesting thing about the results is that their feeling of tickling was increasing the more the movement of the robot was different and the more delay.
This shows that the contrast between what the participant’s brains expect and what actually happens is what leads to the feeling of tickling.
In addition, a recent Swedish study was conducted this year to complement the results of the early study, and the results of this study revealed that when participants touch and tickle themselves, it is possible to observe a wave of activation of specific areas of the brain, even before the sensory signals reach the brain.
The authors of the study say that they found a clear difference between a person being tickled by another person and when he tickles himself.
In the latter case, the activity of many areas of the brain decreased. They also found evidence that this difference arises early in the spinal cord before sensations in the brain are processed.
Thus, once you tickle yourself, it is not only your brain that stops the fun but your nervous system as a whole.
Nevertheless, you do not have to be sad about this result, this indicates that your brain knows well what things belong to you, and distinguishes it from those that belong to the outside world.
And if you see someone who can tickle themselves, it may be due to the suffering of a mental disorder.
Finally, We can say that your inability to tickle and laugh by yourself is the tax that you must pay to be able to control your body.