Why can’t you tickle yourself? Scientists have discovered that the feeling experienced when we are tickled causes us to panic and is a natural defense to little creepy crawlers like spiders and bugs. Slight tickles from insects can send a chill through your body letting you know something is crawling on you. That same ticklish feeling sends us into a state of panic and elicits a response of uncontrollable laughter if a person tickles us.
So, if someone else’s touch can tickle us, why can’t we tickle ourselves? Much of the explanation for this question is still unknown, but research has shown that the brain is trained to know what to feel when a person moves or performs any function. We aren’t aware of a lot of the sensations generated by our movements. For example, you probably don’t pay much attention to your vocal cords when you speak. For the same reason, we can’t tickle ourselves. If we grab our sides in an attempt to tickle ourselves, our brain anticipates this contact from the hands and prepares itself for it. By taking away the feeling of unease and panic, the body no longer responds the same as it would if someone else were to tickle us.
April Fools’ Day (sometimes called All Fools’ Day) is celebrated every year on 1 April by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool. Some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392) contains the first recorded association between 1 April and foolishness.