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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

II. 

 

Ticklishness--Its Origin and Significance--The Psychology of 

Tickling--Laughter--Laughter as a Kind of Detumescence--The Sexual 

Relationships of Itching--The Pleasure of Tickling--Its Decrease with Age 

and Sexual Activity. 

 

 

Touch, as has already been remarked, is the least intellectual of the 

senses. There is, however, one form of touch sensation--that is to say, 

ticklishness--which is of so special and peculiar a nature that it has 

sometimes been put aside in a class apart from all other touch sensations. 

Scaliger proposed to class titillation as a sixth, or separate, sense. 

Alrutz, of Upsala, regards tickling as a milder degree of itching, and 

considers that the two together constitute a sensation of distinct quality 

with distinct end-organs, for the mediation of that quality.[5] However we 

may regard this extreme view, tickling is certainly a specialized 

modification of touch and it is at the same time the most intellectual 

mode of touch sensation and that with the closest connection with the 

sexual sphere. To regard tickling as an intellectual manifestation may 

cause surprise, more especially when it is remembered that ticklishness is 

a form of sensation which reaches full development very early in life, and 

it has to be admitted that, as compared even with the messages that may be 

sent through smell and taste, the intellectual element in ticklishness 

remains small. But its presence here has been independently recognized by 

various investigators. Groos points out the psychic factor in tickling as 

evidenced by the impossibility of self-tickling.[6] Louis Robinson 

considers that ticklishness "appears to be one of the simplest 

developments of mechanical and automatic nervous processes in the 

direction of the complex functioning of the higher centres which comes 

within the scope of psychology,"[7] Stanley Hall and Allin remark that 

"these minimal touch excitations represent the very oldest stratum of 

psychic life in the soul."[8] Hirman Stanley, in a somewhat similar 

manner, pushes the intellectual element in ticklishness very far back and 

associates it with "tentacular experience." "By temporary self-extension," 

he remarks, "even low amoeboid organisms have slight, but suggestive, 

touch experiences that stimulate very general and violent reactions, and 

in higher organisms extended touch-organs, as tentacles, antennae, hair, 

etc., become permanent and very delicately sensitive organs, where minimal 

contacts have very distinct and powerful reactions." Thus ticklishness 

would be the survival of long passed ancestral tentacular experience, 

which, originally a stimulation producing intense agitation and alarm, has 

now become merely a play activity and a source of keen pleasure.[9] 

 

We need not, however, go so far back in the zooelogical series to explain 

the origin and significance of tickling in the human species. Sir J.Y. 

Simpson suggested, in an elaborate study of the position of the child in 

the womb, that the extreme excitomotory sensibility of the skin in various 


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