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Pressing fingers to nose and forehead help concentration?

  1. Jul 23, 2014 #1

    Why does pressing one's fingers between the nose and forehead lessen distress and help concentration?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2014 #2
    Have you tried this yourself or did you read it somewhere?
  4. Jul 23, 2014 #3
    I did not read it anywhere. It is just something I and just about everyone does naturally. The action is very common. One is feeling some kind of anxiety or stress or bothered in some way in some way, presses one's fingers there, and closes one's eyes. It makes one feel some relief and helps one think. I am wondering why. Reducing blood flow to a part of the brain? Something to do with a nerve? A muscle? Sinuses?
  5. Jul 23, 2014 #4


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    We really need some actual scientific source .

    Now, I've seen people squeeze the bridge of their nose due to eye strain, but it has nothing to do with concentration, unless you are linking releasing slight tension to feeling better and as a result not being as distracted.

    Again, we need valid sources for the science section, this is all just anecdotal, so will be moved to general discussion.
  6. Jul 23, 2014 #5
    Okay, disregard that I said why people do it. I am changing the question to why do people it?

    When feeling something such as stress of frustration or troubled (not from physical pain such as a headache, eyestrain, or sinus pressure), I and others put their fingers at the top of the bridge of the nose and on the lower forehead. Why? Is there some benefit?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  7. Jul 23, 2014 #6
    I press the side of my hand to my forehead when I am trying to remember something and there is no stress involved. I see a lot of people do it. I notice that I do this when it is non verbal thinking.

    I also tend to put a finger to my lips, and I notice others do it too, when thinking of something to say. This is definitely verbal thinking so I always presumed that is why the finger goes to the lips. Sometimes I even put my entire hand to my mouth or chin.

    When I do this I keep my clothes on most of the time unlike the guy below.


    It is all a part of body language and it is really a complicated subject. The answer to the OP is out there somewhere.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  8. Jul 23, 2014 #7
  9. Jul 23, 2014 #8


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    I've read somewhere that when you're concentrating on something you might stick your tongue out and apply pressure on your lip with it, and it signals to others that you do not want to be disturbed.Don't know if it's based on anything, I didn't manage to find it back with a quick google search.
  10. Jul 23, 2014 #9
    I feel stressed out pretty often but don't perform this gesture. I can't say I've seen a lot of people do it in real life, either. Mostly just in movies and on TV. (It seems to express frustration, not relieve it, as far as I can tell.)
  11. Jul 23, 2014 #10


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    If a simple thing such as this can help a human concentrate, it would be commonly known in most cultures, IMO.

    Gestures are highly culturally influenced. In some cultures, nodding the head and shaking the head can mean opposite things to what we think is "normal". I would classify "pressing fingers to nose and forehead" as a gesture.
  12. Jul 24, 2014 #11


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    Would stretching and cracking your knuckles fall into the same category?
  13. Jul 24, 2014 #12


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    There could be a long tradition behind that. The contemporary instruction manuals for Greek and Roman rhetoric and oratory had long sections on using conventional gestures to aid communication.

    Greek and Roman theater used the same principles. There are examples in Roman comedies were one character comments on and mocks another character's use of conventional gestures on stage.
  14. Jul 24, 2014 #13
    That's my impression. This particular gesture seems to me to be a "conventional" way of expressing the thought, "This situation is giving me a headache!" "Headache" not being literal, but in the sense of emotional frustration.

    On the other hand, it's possible a certain type of person authentically experiences some tension there when frustrated, that they're trying to relieve, and the gesture is natural and automatic to them. I can't say.
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