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Name: Doug
Status: Educator
Grade:  9-12
Location: IL
Country: United States
Date: July 2008

I teach anger control classes to high school students as part of a large scale research prevention project. In a somewhat distracting manner, one of my students asked me if I knew why people were ticklish. I had to confess that I did not know, but as a good teacher I would try and find out for her. Few local resources could provide a good answer. Can you help me out?

This falls under the study to social contact (grooming) for species that have, particularly mammals that have highly social groupings. Being ticklish would certainly draw more attention to that individual from other members of the group. Creates positive interactions that strength bonds. It would be interesting if one could find a structural (receptor) or physiological (brain wave pattern) that would be strongly correlated with the "ticklish state" and see if these kinds of things are found only in highly social mammalian species.

Lou Harnisch

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