Posted by: janya | July 5, 2008

When you fell off your bike why did your mother rub your elbow?

I am reading this very interesting book “A User’s Guide to the Brain” by John J Ratey. It is very enlightening when it comes to understanding human behavior. I wanted to share some of those with you. Here is one:

Well do you know that the primary receptor for pain is called ‘nociceptor’ and it is this that responds to stimulation such as intense pressure, extreme temperatures and more. One interesting process here is the pain mechanism. For example, when you hit your knee on a desk, you probably rub it to make it feel better. Why does this rubbing reduce the pain instead of aggravating it? Because the act of rubbing sends a second set of tactile signals to the brain. Brain has to pay attention to both signals at once and this leads to a reduction in perceived severity of the more intense first one. This concept is called competitive inhibition.

When your mother rubbed your elbow after you fell off your bike, she was applying this scientific principle to the reduction of pain. Moms know it all.

Well, there you go. Now you have learned something new.


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