Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

March 12, 2010


Filed under: Psychology,Tickling — Razib @ 3:49 pm

Did not know this:

Still, these platonic tickle sessions appear to be rare. Based on a survey he conducted for his fascinating book Laughter, neuroscientist Robert Provine notes that adults and adolescents are seven times more likely to be tickled by members of the opposite sex. When asked whom they would most like to be tickled by, there was a fifteenfold disparity. Provine also notes that “the Dutch word for clitoris is kittelaar, ‘the organ of being tickled or titillated.’ ” The Internet is littered with tickle fetish sites.

Nevertheless, Robert Provine notes that history and mythology tell tales of death by tickle. The Leshii, a Russian fairy-tale monster, abducted peasants and tickled them to death. The Rusalka, drowned maidens of Ukrainian lore who populate inland waterways, tempted bypassing bachelors and delivered fatal tickle attacks. Real-life Prince Vlad—yes, that Vlad—of Transylvania may have tortured victims by dripping salty water onto their feet and letting goats lick it off. English rebel Simon de Montfort reportedly tickled opponents to death with a feather, and an Anabaptist sect uncomfortable with bloodshed is also alleged to have used the method. Provine suggests one possible mechanism for death-by-tickle: “The sustained, uncontrollable laughter and struggling of the victim may cause cardiac arrest or cerebral hemorrhage.”

There’s a lot more to tickling than I thought!


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