搔痒可能是社交联系的一种形式，特别是对于父母和孩子。马里兰大学神经科学家罗伯特·普罗文（Robert Provine）认为痒痒是“科学中最广泛和最深刻的科目之一”，他说，在生命的最初几个月里，被发痒的笑声反应被激活，而作为一种游戏形式的痒痒有助于新生儿与父母联系。马戏和其他涉及发痒的游戏也有可能帮助我们磨练自我保护能力 – 一种休闲的战斗训练。这种观点得到以下事实的支持：身体上最容易发痒的部位，如腋窝，肋骨和大腿内侧，也是特别容易受到攻击的区域。对搔痒的身体反应的研究已经导致得出与社会联系假设相冲突的结论。当人们认为那些发现被搔痒的人感到不愉快时，社会联系假设真的开始分崩离析。加利福尼亚大学圣地亚哥分校的心理学家进行的一项研究发现，无论是否认为受试者被机器或人类搔痒，受试者都可以体验到同等程度的痒感。从这些发现中，作者得出的结论是，痒痒更可能是反射而不是其他任何东西。如果痒是一种反射，为什么我们不能挠挠自己呢？甚至亚里士多德都问自己这个问题。伦敦大学学院的神经科学家使用脑映射来研究自我挠痒的不可能性。他们确定负责协调运动的大脑区域（称为小脑）可以读取您的意图，甚至可以准确地预测身体在哪里发生自我搔痒。这种心理过程可以防止出现预期的“挠痒”效应。
Tickling may function as a form of social bonding, especially for a parent and child. University of Maryland neuroscientist Robert Provine, who considers ticklishness to be “one of the broadest and deepest subjects in science,” says that the laughter response to being tickled is activated within the first few months of life and that tickling as a form of play helps newborns connect with parents. It’s also possible that the horseplay and other games involving tickling help us hone our ability to defend ourselves — a kind of casual combat training. This view is supported by the fact that the regions of the body that happen to be most ticklish, such as the armpits, ribs, and inner thighs, are also areas that are particularly vulnerable to attack.Research into the physical response to tickling has led to conclusions that conflict with the social bonding hypothesis. The social bonding hypothesis really starts to fall apart when one considers those who find the experience of being tickled unpleasant. A study conducted by psychologists at the University of California in San Diego found that subjects can experience an equal degree of ticklishness regardless of whether they believe they are being tickled by a machine or a human. From these findings, the authors drew the conclusion that being ticklish is more likely a reflex than anything else. If ticklishness is a reflex, why can’t we tickle ourselves? Even Aristotle asked himself this question. Neuroscientists at University College London used brain mapping to study the impossibility of self-tickling. They determined that the region of the brain responsible for coordinating movements, known as the cerebellum, can read your intentions and even predict exactly where on the body an attempt to self-tickle will occur. This mental process prevents out the intended “tickle” effect.