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KID STUFF : Laughter Will Scratch the Tickle

January 12, 1994|THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

You're yelling. Gasping for breath. Rolling on the floor. Laughing may be a way your body releases tension when someone won't stop tickling you. But scientists aren't sure why tickling makes people laugh.

Laughing is just one reaction. Lots of other things happen automatically when you get tickled. Your body tenses. Your blood pressure goes up. Your pulse races. Tickling excites your nerve endings. Your body acts as if it is in danger. You try to get away from the tickler.

But there are times when people don't laugh when they are tickled. Try tickling the bottoms of your own feet. It doesn't make you laugh because you know exactly where you will tickle and when you will stop. You can't fool yourself, so your body doesn't get tense.

Some people are more ticklish than others. But there's just one reaction when tickling stops: relief.

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