Curiosities: Why do people want to urinate (wee) when they see water flowing?

restroom

By Eddy Montilla.

It seems that there are no scientific reasons to explain why we need a wee when we see water flowing or listen to the sound of it. Then, why does that happen?

     Because of psychological reasons: Conditioned reflex and association of ideas.

     A reflex is an action o movement that we do and it happens naturally in response to something. Typical examples are to try to grasp something that goes directly to the palm of your hand or to close your eyes when something is about to cause it any harm. A Russian psychologist called Ivan Pavlov observed his dog’s saliva when his pet was eating or about to eat, a natural reaction indicating that the animal was hungry. Later, Pavlov noticed that the dog began to salivate even when he did not have food in front of him. Then, he made an experiment: He fed his dog and rang a bell. After several repetitions, the dog was salivating whenever he heard the bell with or without food around him. This observation (or perhaps it would be fairer to say this dog!) revolutionized the realm of psychology because we learned that besides natural reflexes, there are others that can be conditioned (conditioned reflex).

     When you see the flow of your urine (wee) coming out of body and listen to the pee sound or the sound made by the toilet after flushing it, this image and sound remain inside your brain. Then, when you turn the faucet on, the water you see flowing and its sound evoke them, provoking the sense of urgency you feel to go to the restroom.

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