Misokinesia: What It Is, Characteristics, Symptoms, Causes And How To Manage It


Are you one of those people who finds it very annoying to have someone sitting next to you who doesn’t stop moving their legs? Does the sound that person makes who keeps cracking their fingers makes you nervous? And the drumming he makes with his hands? This sensation has a name: misokinesis.

Misokinesis is a psychological phenomenon that, although it is not considered a mental disorder by any means, is a quite annoying condition, capable of even distancing us from someone whose body nervousness becomes unbearable.

This psychological phenomenon is experienced in many ways and, although in principle it is not worrying, it can become an obstacle to our social life. Let’s find out why…

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What is misokinesis?

Mysokinesis is a psychological alteration that is usually accompanied by discomfort and discomfort when seeing and hearing someone who keeps making small repetitive body movements.

For example, a person with this psychological condition would feel very uncomfortable having around someone who does not stop making sounds with their fingers, clicks with the pen over and over again, makes their legs shake while sitting or does not stop swinging. in his chair.

This word is relatively new, but the psychological phenomenon behind it has been suspected for some time. We have proof of this in a 2014 Dutch investigation, carried out by the University of Amsterdam, in which the existence of misokinesis was already anticipated.

In their study, Arjan Schröder’s research group addressed misophonia, that is, the irritability of hearing sounds such as a faucet dripping, hearing someone chewing, or the sound of mobile phone notifications.

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The researchers found that Much of his experimental sample was not only prone to feeling uncomfortable with certain sounds, but also had another extreme reaction.: the discomfort of seeing and hearing certain body movements.

It was precisely from this discovery that over time another research group, that of scientist Sumeet Jaswal (University of British Columbia) would propose the name “misokinesis” from the Greek “miso”, which means “hate”, and “kinesis”, which means “movement”.

As conceptualized by Jaswal’s group, misokinesis can be defined as a strong negative affective or emotional response to the sight of small, repetitive body movements of others, such as seeing someone moving a hand or foot meaninglessly. . Despite these being minor movements that do not cause harm to the recipient, produce enough anguish to not want to be close to the person who carries them out.

Causes of misokinesis
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misokinesis It is not a mental disorder nor is it a condition serious enough on its own to require urgent professional help.. Given that its conceptualization is relatively recent, today it is still being studied and defining what the characteristic symptoms of this phenomenon are.

Proof of this is the study by Sumeet Jaswal, which has sought to clarify and understand this phenomenon in greater depth. Her study states that this phenomenon It can affect around 33% of the population, an extremely high percentage. Some of the symptoms that a person with misokinesia may manifest are:

  • Irritability and even feeling angry when someone makes repetitive body movements.
  • Feeling anxious when someone closes and opens a pen, squeezes a stress ball, cracks their fingers, or taps them on a surface.
  • Stay away from people who do repetitive movements.

It should be said that Each person is different and so is the way in which misokinesis affects them.. There are different degrees of this condition, and it also manifests itself in very varied ways in terms of the stimulus that is bothersome to those who have this syndrome. What most people who have this peculiar phenomenon have in common is that they feel anxiety and discomfort when faced with the movements of others, being able to tolerate them or not to a greater or lesser extent.

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There are cases that are serious, as there are people who are unable to work or hang out with people who they know are especially nervous or who move their legs or hands compulsively. Being next to someone with a lot of nervous tics can be an ordeal for a person who has misokinesis.becoming very distracting when the person in question executes repetitive movements without stopping.

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What is its cause?

Since it is a relatively recent concept, there is still not enough data to point to the exact cause behind misokinesis. However, given its possible relationship with misophonia, a condition for which the cause is known. It has been seen that the phobia of certain sounds, such as hearing others chew or even breathe, has a cerebral origin..

Research on misophonia has detected that people who suffer from this condition have an alteration in the anterior insular cortex, a region that becomes hyperactive when exposed to certain sounds. This is a region that activates intense emotions, such as fear or anger, in addition to being associated with feelings of stress, increased sweating, and heart rate. Given the potential relationship between misophonia and misokinesis, it is expected that this same region will be hyperactive in people with this second condition.

Added to this, it has been speculated that mirror neurons could also be involved. These neurons activate when we see someone do something, replicating it in our brain and imagining that we ourselves also carry out the same action. With misokinesis, what would happen is that the simple fact of seeing someone with a nervous tic would activate our mirror neurons and we would experience that nervousness in our own flesh, only at much higher levels.

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How to manage this annoying psychological phenomenon?

Misokinesis is a phenomenon that has been discovered recently, but it is believed to have a great impact on the population and therefore it is a matter of time before it is addressed in depth and it is discovered how this psychological phenomenon can be managed. As this problem affects each person in a different way, each person can develop and manage very different strategies to deal with (or avoid) the situations that cause their misokinesis to come to light.

As we have mentioned before It is not considered a mental disorder or something serious enough on its own to require professional help..

However, if feeling uncomfortable with the repetitive movements of other people means a high degree of impact on your social, work, academic and family life, it would be advisable to go to a psychologist to learn anxiety management techniques and learn to stop noticing the tics of others.

Likewise, we can practice relaxation and deep breathing techniques to reduce anxiety symptoms. You can also use the visualization technique, which consists of creating an alternative mental image while someone in real life is executing movements that are uncomfortable for us. We can try to put assertiveness into practice, asking the person who makes the repetitive movements to please stop doing them, although it may not always be possible…