Main  Contacts  
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

areas in question from altered supply of blood is reasonably 

certain. As a consequence of this summation-process there would 

result in many cases and in cases of excessive nervous discharge 

the opposite of pleasure, namely: pain. A number of instances 

have been recorded of death resulting from tickling, and there is 

no reason to doubt the truth of the statement that Simon de 

Montfort, during the persecution of the Albigenses, put some of 

them to death by tickling the soles of their feet with a feather. 

An additional causal factor in the production of tickling may lie 

in the nature and structure of the nervous process involved in 

perception in general. According to certain histological 

researches of recent years we know that between the sense-organs 

and the central nervous system there exist closely connected 

chains of conductors or neurons, along which an impression 

received by a single sensory cell on the periphery is propagated 

avalanchelike through an increasing number of neurons until the 

brain is reached. If on the periphery a single cell is excited 

the avalanchelike process continues until finally hundreds or 

thousands of nerve-cells in the cortex are aroused to 

considerable activity. Golgi, Ramon y Cajal, Koelliker, Held, 

Retzius, and others have demonstrated the histological basis of 

this law for vision, hearing, and smell, and we may safely assume 

from the phenomena of tickling that the sense of touch is not 

lacking in a similar arrangement. May not a suggestion be 

offered, with some plausibility, that even in ideal or 

representative tickling, where tickling results, say, from 

someone pointing a finger at the ticklish places, this 

avalanchelike process may be incited from central centres, thus 

producing, although in a modified degree, the pleasant phenomena 

in question? As to the deepest causal factor, I should say that 

tickling is the result of vasomotor shock." (A. Allin, "On 

Laughter," _Psychological Review_, May, 1903.) 

 

The intellectual element in tickling conies out in its connection with 

laughter and the sense of the comic, of which it may be said to constitute 

the physical basis. While we are not here concerned with laughter and the 

comic sense,--a subject which has lately attracted considerable 

attention,--it may be instructive to point out that there is more than an 

analogy between laughter and the phenomena of sexual tumescence and 

detumescence. The process whereby prolonged tickling, with its nervous 

summation and irradiation and accompanying hyperaemia, finds sudden relief 

in an explosion of laughter is a real example of tumescence--as it has 

been defined in the study in another volume entitled "An Analysis of the 

Sexual Impulse"--resulting finally in the orgasm of detumescence. The 

reality of the connection between the sexual embrace and tickling is 


Page 3 from 7:  Back   1   2  [3]  4   5   6   7   Forward