The science behind why popping bubble wrap is so addictive

David Elkin
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ONE OF THE most satisfying little things in life is popping some bubble wrap - and it’s universally acknowledged around the world as such.

But why is it so addictive? Why do we always need to have just one more pop? Well, some actual scientific research has gone in to finding out why we love it so much.

As the Science of Us reports, US psychology professor Kathleen M. Dillon studied the effects on a sample audience and found:

…those who got to pop two sheets of Bubble Wrap felt at once calmer and more awake after they were done than before they’d started; they also reported higher levels of calmness and alertness than a group that was not granted popping privileges.

So, it’s scientifically more relaxing to pop bubble wrap, fair enough. But it goes even further than that, as the study went on to explain.


In actual fact, the satisfaction of popping bubble wrap could be linked to our evolutionary instincts:

it has to do with a very natural, human response to stress: freezing in your tracks. In real danger, this might be helpful, because it gives you a moment to decide what to action to take — better to fight back or flee? A similar thing might happen when people are nervous or stressed, and so it could be that little nervous motions like finger tapping or foot jiggling — or Bubble Wrap popping! — are ways of releasing that muscle tension, which helps reduce the feeling of stress.

So now.

When it was reported last week that the makers of bubble wrap were inventing a version that wouldn’t pop – the whole bubble popping world went into crisis.


So now you know why it’s addictive – you can cherish it to its fullest extent (while you still can).


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