For some of us, being tickled by so-called “friends” and “family” is a nightmare. But can we use the fact that we can’t tickle ourselves to stop being ticklish when other people come at us, grinning? According to Dr. Emily Grossman, yes. Yes we can.
For some people, parenting is a dream. For others, an obligation. For scientists, parenting is an opportunity. And if that opportunity requires them to wear a mask and do scientific tickling, that only makes it better.
New research has revealed that tickling yourself is impossible, even if you're fooled into thinking that someone else is doing the tickling. The surprising result casts considerable doubt on what scientists think they know about the neural mechanisms of tickling.
"Solo tickle is even emptier than solo sex," psychologist Robert Provine once wrote. After all, "you can masturbate to climax, but you cannot tickle yourself."
You probably know that you can't tickle yourself. And although you might be able to tickle a total stranger, your brain also strongly discourages you from doing something so socially awkward. These facts offer insight into tickling's evolutionary purpose.