Science Fair Project:

Who’s Most Ticklish?

3.8 based on 29 ratings

Research Questions:

  • Do males or females tend to be more ticklish?
  • What age(s) of persons tend to be most ticklish?

Why can’t we tickle ourselves? Why do people laugh when tickled, even when they don’t like it? Some scientists, approaching it from an evolutionary standpoint, believe that tickling encourages social bonding. Others believe that it is a primitive form of self-defense practice for young children.

Materials:

  • A long feather
  • Test subjects of different ages and genders
  • Paper and pencil for recording and analyzing data

Experimental Procedure

  1. Record the gender and age of test subject.
  2. Using the feather, tickle the test subject in various commonly-ticklish spots (ear, neck, back of knee, etc.).
  3. Rate the subject’s response to each tickle on a scale of one to five with one being no response and five being extreme ticklishness.
  4. Repeat for all subjects.
  5. Analyze results: On average do males or females tend to be more ticklish? Do younger or older people tend to be more ticklish? Do certain categories of people tend to be ticklish in a particular spot on their body (e.g. You might find that in general boys younger than 7 are ticklish on their knees but not on their ears)? Consider explanations based on scientists' hypotheses of the evolutionary roots of ticklishness.
  6. Extension: Ask test subjects whether they find tickles pleasant or unpleasant. Analyze subjects’ answers according to gender, age, and overall degree of ticklishness.

Terms/Concepts: ticklish, gender, age

References: “Ticklishness Unexplained,” by Natalie Wolchover, Facto Diem: Scientific Facts, Not Quite Everyday

Author: Shelly Smith
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by Education.com's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on Education.com's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely