tickle tickle

The most fas­ci­nat­ing thing I’ve read in a long time: Why We Can’t Tick­le Our­selves, from Mind Hacks:
Tips & Tools for Using your Brain in the World

As I under­stand it, appar­ent­ly there is a way by which our body dis­tin­guish­es between stim­uli that is self-inflict­ed or exter­nal­ly inflict­ed: when­ev­er we act, our brains pre­dict the effect of the action…and that predici­ton is then com­pared to incom­ing sen­sa­tions. If the pre­dic­tion match­es up with the sen­sa­tion, then we know that the sen­sa­tion was caused by us, and not by some­thing exter­nal. (The way they explained it was a bit more com­pli­cat­ed, but this seems to be the gen­er­al idea).

We feel exter­nal stim­uli more intense­ly because it is exter­nal stim­uli which is more impor­tant to attend to — what we are doing to our­selves is real­ly not as (evo­lu­tion­ar­i­ly?) impor­tant as what some­thing (or some­one) else may be doing to us. Hence…when we are tick­led by oth­ers it feels more “tick­ly” then when we tick­le ourselves.

What was the most delight­ful to learn: mice are ticklish.

Leave a Reply