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Mimishu1995's avatar

Why do cartoon characters gulp when they are nervous?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (23623points) 1 month ago

I’m talking about this kind of reaction in cartoons. Basically when encountered a distressing situation, a cartoon character will make the gulping sound and gesture, oftentimes accompanied by the image of big ball of saliva going down the throat. I wonder if there is any basic in reality for this, or if this is just something exclusive for cartoons.

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4 Answers

chyna's avatar

My guess is they started this before talking movies/cartoons in an over exaggeration to convey to the audience that the character was nervous.

smudges's avatar

“Humans swallow when nervous. The act of swallowing helps to clear the throat and maintain normal function. So, whether we’re excited, worried, or nervous, our bodies continue to perform essential functions like swallowing without conscious effort.”

Seems natural to extend that to cartoon characters, whether human or animal.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s a pretty normal response, similar to taking a deep breath before something major happens like a job interview or a date.

Sometimes the mouth creates a lot of saliva, for the reason I don’t know. Better to swallow than accidentally spit on someone while taking.

jca2's avatar

@Blackberry, I believe that the saliva is from the fight or flight response.

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