Digging for gold? Anyone with two nostrils and a finger picks their nose, but no one will admit it. While it might not be the most attractive or hygienic habit, it happens. And science is finally giving it a purpose—or, at the very least, a reason. If you find yourself poking around or “scratching an itch”, don’t be too ashamed.
Humans pick their noses, and here are 15 reasons why…
Have you ever been caught picking your nose? Share your story in the comments!
Did you know you’re probably a rhinotillexomaniac? That’s the technical name for someone who picks their nose.
Doctors from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India have determined that the act of nose-picking is rooted in childhood habits. Twenty percent of people surveyed admitted to having a “serious nose-picking problem.”
A pair of researchers in the U.S. found that 91 percent of 1,000 participants admitted to picking their noses. Keyword: “admitted.”
Picking too aggressively can lead to some physical issues. Two people in the survey reported having burrowed a hole through the thin tissue separating their nostrils.
There’s a box of tissues in the other room. But your finger is so much closer… and this is probably the most straightforward reason we pick.
No matter what social class you grew up in, chances are you have picked your nose. Consider it a connective human bond.
Boys are likelier to pick their noses—but that’s also probably because boys have higher tendencies toward bad habits in general.
There was a study that suggested picking your nose—and eating your findings—could boost your immune system. But that idea has been highly debated.
Humans indulge in a variety of habits that serve no definitive purpose. Tom Stafford of BBC likens habits like nose-picking, nail-biting and scab-picking to “tidying-up.”
Just because you do it, doesn’t mean you should. Dutch researchers found that picking your nose heightens your risk of developing a staph infection.
Picking your nose may be a symptom of OCD (or obsessive-compulsive disorder). But that’s only when your picking is a legitimate issue.
When some people pick their noses, they’re not actually picking boogers. Rhinotrichotillomania is the act of compulsively pulling out nose hairs. If you do this, be careful. Major inflammation may follow.
There’s a difference between picking your nose every so often and having a chronic issue. There was an incident where one woman was so addicted to picking her nose that the damage she caused herself was impossible to fix, even after surgery.
Researchers are still trying to find more conclusive reasons why humans “dig for gold.” Researcher Chittaranjan Andrade is a leader in this field of study. “I made it my business to poke my business into other people’s noses,” he says.
Why do we do it? For starters: it feels good, we’re lazy and we’re afraid someone might see our boogers… the reasons are as functional as they are funny.