General Question

Facade's avatar

Why does seeing certain things make us itch?

Asked by Facade (22902points) June 23rd, 2009

For some it’s creepy, crawly insects or spiders..
I’m watching television, and this woman had some sort of severe rash on her face. I started itching all over.

Why is this?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

Supacase's avatar

The power of suggestion?

atlantis's avatar

I’ve heard of yawning being contagious. But maybe you’re too involved in the show. Television empathy?

Facade's avatar

@atlantis That’s very possible lol

EmpressPixie's avatar

Perhaps some sort of instinct. Like, when you see someone vomit usually that will trigger a gag reflex. Because if you’ve eaten the same thing and one person got sick and threw up, your body knows it is better for you to vomit up the poison before it really hurts you. (There’s not really a way to explain to your body that you aren’t foraging in the wild, eating all the same stuff anymore.)

So in the same way—you see bugs swarming, and the instinct is to itch and twitch to make you brush them off. Because your instincts don’t really know about movies or TV.

This is all speculation, mind you. I don’t actually know.

dynamicduo's avatar

It’s a very low level human instinct. There is nothing to be lost with scratching yourself, same as with yawning when someone else yawns. It’s simply the brain saying “hey, that’s a good idea, let me try that”.

MacBean's avatar

Well, when I see creepy-crawlies, I imagine them on me. I can feel their icky little legs all over my skin. And it makes me itch.

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