Friday, December 14, 2012

"Can you get through this entire post WITHOUT feeling itchy?"

I used to do a quick classroom demonstration during the social psychology unit about itching. As I stood in front of the class talking about conformity and obedience, I would start to scratch my head, arm, shoulder, etc. As I talked, I tried to notice how many students succumbed to the "contagious" itching, then I stopped and told them what I was doing and asked them to talk about whether they experienced itches as they watched me itch.

It was a fun and engaging demonstration, but I have to admit that I never really felt confident about the connection (if there is one) between the social psych. principles and the contagiousness of itching. So I was happy to spot this article on the phenomenon: "You scratch, I scratch! The social contagion of itch.

This short article describes research about itch contagion and the brain biology that might explain why we itch when we see others scratch. The next time I do this demonstration, I'll do it in the bio unit I think, and I'll be much better informed.

image credit:

Blog post title is a quote from:

posted by Rob McEntarffer

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