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From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Physiology Question
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 20:52:11 -0600
Message-ID: <aa2i96$h3c$>

"Richard Alexander" <> wrote in message

> I decide where I want the sensation and how rapidly I'm going to build
> up the intensity, and to what level. Then, I just do it. I've never
> figured out how I do it. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure
> that out over the years.

See if you can get into a research center where they're doing PET scanning,
and see if they can scan you while you're shocking yourself.

Some of these things turn out strangely. For example: I can wiggle my ears
like many people, and the same action "pops" them (clears and qualizes
pressure in the eustacian tube) so I had some idea some muscles inside were
doing something also. Eventually I learned how to control these only-- by
starting the action but not going too far I can get the ears to pop and
clear, without them moving at all. What's going on?  Had no idea. So I had
an ENT look in my ear as I was doing it, to see if he could see anything
down inside, and he was aghast. I found that the muscle I have voluntary
control over is the tensor tympani-- a tiny little dab of a muscle which
flexes your eardrum involuntarily with loud noises, to protect your cochlea.
Except it's not quite involuntary in everyone. Some people can wiggle their
ears; I can wiggle just my *eardrums*.

This is my only physiological talent, and a poor one it is, too. : (   It
helps me a bit in scuba, but I doubt if the Olympics will be sanctioning
tympanastics really soon. It's interesting, though. So I always encourage
people who come up with stuff like this, to see if they can get it studied.
Who knows what the variability in the human animal really is?


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