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Why Is Itching Contagious? With Dr Emily Grossman

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 Biology   |   Society / Culture   |   Psychology   |   Science   |   Social Science
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Does watching this video make you itch? Dr Emily Grossman explains why the ‘social itch’ might have evolved. Subscribe for regular science videos: http://bit.ly/RiSubscRibe

It’s well known that an itch can be contagious – seeing a person scratch can make you want to do the same. But why does this happen? Dr Emily Grossman explains that it might be a mechanism for preventing the spread of parasitic diseases in close-nit social groups.

Social itching is likely prompted by the interplay of various areas of the brain. Mirror neurons – cells in the brain that are active when we do a behaviour or watch another person doing it – may be the root cause.

Dr. Emily Grossman is an expert in molecular biology and genetics, with a Triple First in Natural Sciences from Queens' College Cambridge and a PhD in cancer research. She also trained and worked as an actress, and now combines her skills in her work as a science broadcaster and educator; teaching maths and all three sciences at all academic levels and explaining science for a wide range of TV and radio programmes. She recently completed a season as resident science expert on ITV's The Alan Titchmarsh Show, and was a member of the panel of experts for two series of Sky1's celebrity panel show Duck Quacks Don't Echo, hosted by Lee Mack. She has appeared as a science expert on ITV's This Morning, Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped, Sky News, BBC1's The One Show, and London Live’s Not the One Show, has been interviewed several times on Radio 4’s Last Word, Radio 5 live’s Daily Bacon, BBC World Service’s Newshour and LBC Radio, and is a regular guest on the Guardian Science Weekly podcast.

Emily has hosted science events for the Academy of Medical Sciences and at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, she has run workshops and given talks for The Royal Institution, she has performed at Science Showoff at the Bloomsbury Theatre, and she has presented many interactive science shows in schools and at science festivals. She is also a communication skills trainer for the Famelab International science communication competition - running master-classes for competition finalists across the globe - and is a judge for the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition. Emily has taught science and maths at two London schools and the Manchester Science Museum, and has tutored over 150 private students. She is also the new voice of Oxford University Press’s online resource, MyMaths.

If you’re in London, come and question reality with Emily at the Ri Lates on April 17: http://bit.ly/1vGAz9N

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