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Friday, November 30, 2012

Seeing someone scratch makes you itchy too

22 November 2012

Seeing someone scratch an itch could make you feel itchy too, a study suggests.

The British Journal of Dermatology paper looked at whether images such as those of others scratching or ants crawling on skin, made people scratch.

The study of 30 people asked them how they felt looking at these and "non-itch" images - and found visual cues did provoke a "scratch response".

Experts said the work could help understand skin disorders.

Visual cues

The participants in the study, overseen by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Manchester, were shown a range of images; insects such as ants and midges on and off the skin, skin conditions or neutral images such as butterflies and healthy skin.

For each picture, people were asked how itchy they felt. The researchers also checked how often they scratched themselves while looking at the images.

It was found that visual cues did provoke the sensation of itch in people - and made them scratch.

And, in particular, it was watching another person scratching - rather than seeing the cause of an itch - that made people feel itchy themselves. (...)

Full article:


  1. No! I read this, and immediately scratched my neck!

  2. I was scratching myself all throughout getting this post ready. xD


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