Giggling Rats Provide Insights Into Why Humans Are Ticklish

By Shariqua Ahmed

For many of us, the mere thought of wiggling fingers approaching our rib cage or moving towards our underarms is enough to elicit squeals of laughter and giggles. However, while we all know that tickling makes us happy, Michael Brecht, a professor at Berlin’s Humboldt University, says it is “one of the most poorly understood forms of touch.”

Scientists do not know why tickling results in such joy, why certain body parts are more susceptible to the sensation than others, or why the best tickles occur at the hands of others. To solve the mystery, that even confounded Aristotle and Charles Darwin, the researcher and study co-author, Shimpei Ishiyama, solicited some help from rats.

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