Laughing While Being Tickled Is Actually A Panic Response

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laughing panic response tickledDo you like being tickled or hate it? Many young children love the sensation of laughing uncontrollably, but many adults hate the feeling altogether. Maybe it’s a feeling of not being n control of the situation, or maybe it’s the result of an evolutionary response. In any event though, when you are laughing while being tickled it is actually a panic response by the body.

If you are ticklish and laugh when being tickled it is actually a throwback to our earlier evolutionary days. Early in human evolution humans lived in the wild, and when living in the wild it is not unusual to encounter dangerous wildlife. The body developed different responses for different circumstances to alert us to perils. One of those panic responses was the feeling of being tickled.

When a dangerous creature, such as a spider, scorpion or snake was on our skin the body would develop a panic response for us to act and remove that tickling feeling. By having this response the body sends a signal to your brain to remove either yourself or the thing causing the tickling. This need to react fast to a dangerous or unwanted touch can save your life in the dangerous wilds of our past.

However, and this is very interesting, the panic response of laughing when being tickled by something that you don’t want tickling you is different from the type of panic reaction you get that causes laughter when you are being tickled by someone or something that you want to tickle you.  It more closely resembles the panic reaction, instead of the having the associated laughter. This is a feeling that you may have already felt.

Have you ever been walking in long grass, gone swimming in some less than clear water, such as the beach or a stream, or maybe even just been at home and had something unexpected touch or crawl on your skin? The sensation that you would have felt was a ticklish feeling, but your reaction would have been panic, not laughter. You may have let out a cuss word, or maybe even a squeal. It’s the type of reaction that is often shown in creepy scenes of Hollywood movies.



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