Cookie The Penguin Really Enjoys Being Tickled

Feb 24, 2016

Have you ever thought about how strange tickling is? It's something that most of us do to others, and have done to us, without ever really questioning how it works. Tickling makes us laugh, yet whenever someone tickles us we do everything in our power to make them stop. So, what's happening in our bodies when someone tickles us?

When someone touches you, the nerve endings under your skin tell your brain that you're receiving pressure. The anterior cingulated cortex, the part of your brain in charge of pleasure, also analyzes these signals. Scientists believe that our laughter is actually a defense mechanism, which would explain why our most vulnerable areas (throat, underarms, and feet) are the most sensitive to tickling. All of this processing inside your brain often results in an all-out fit of laughter that sometimes features snorting or even tears. In addition to being an effective self-defense mechanism, tickling offers benefits for children and their parents. Apparently, child psychologists view tickling as an activity that bonds parents and children at an early age, making them more comfortable with each other's touch. No wonder parents love tickling their kids so much.

While humans enjoy tickling a great deal, no one likes it as much as this tiny penguin named Cookie. Residing at the Cincinnati Zoo, Cookie is the mascot for their Bird House, spreading joy and laughter with him wherever he waddles. Here, one of his handlers tickles his belly and makes him laugh so loud the entire zoo probably heard it. Does a penguin's laugh sound anything like a human's? Check out the video and see for yourself...

H/T: Patricia Sund

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