Does Fidgeting Drive You Crazy?

September 13, 2021

You are Not Alone, 33% of the Population Has Sensitivities to Fidgeting 

Fidgeting is a common feature of autism. It is sometimes referred to as “stimming”.  Approximately 80% of children with autism have some type of movement disorder. Fidgeting or stimming are sensation-seeking behaviors that can ease feelings of anxiety, frustration, or boredom. Examples of fidgeting include pacing, tapping feet, bouncing or shaking legs, and snapping fingers. Each of these fidgeting behaviors involve movement. However, some people have a strong negative response to the sight of someone else’s small and repetitive movements. A recent article published in Technology Networks examines the psychological phenomenon called misokinesia. In short, misokinesia is defined as the hatred of movements. According to the article, a new study out of the University of British Columbia found that one-third of the population suffer from the condition. The research investigating misokinesia involved three separate experiments, which involved a total of 4100 participants. The study’s subjects were asked to self-report whether they have sensitivities to seeing people fidget. They were also asked to determine the emotional and social impacts of having these sensitivities. Interestingly, the findings showed that the impacts of misokinesia appear to increase with age. Older adults reported more distress from the disorder. The researchers behind this study propose that misokinesia has roots in empathy. They suggest that when people with the disorder see others fidgeting due to anxiety or nervousness, they mirror the emotions of the other person and feel anxious and nervous as well. The study’s authors hope to investigate the condition more in the future to determine if there could be a genetic component to this sensitivity. For caregivers who suffer from misokinesia, it is important to know that your condition is real and that you are not alone.  

Original Article

Original Study

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