What Is the ‘Hanger Reflex’? Bizarre New TikTok Trend Explained
The “hanger reflex” trend is turning heads on TikTok — literally — and while it is bizarre, it’s thankfully not dangerous.
People are, however, freaked out.
The “hanger reflex” challenge first caught our attention on TikTok in 2020, and surprisingly it hasn’t lost any entertainment value on TikTokers in 2022.
It’s rather simple.
The viral trend only requires the content creator to have a clothes hanger and a phone.
First, you will want to record yourself taking the clothes hanger and stretching it slightly around your head.
The result looks pretty weird, but the pressure from the hanger will likely make you involuntarily turn your head to the side.
The reaction from the bizarre, unexpected rotation is hilarious.
Take it from these skeptics:
The hanger challenge phenomenon was first noticed in 1991.
What Is the Hanger Reflex?
In 2015, the "hanger reflex" was researched by Japanese scientists who observed 120 adults aged 19 to 65. They found that 85.4 percent of their subjects turned or felt like they were turning their head to the side once a hanger was placed over the frontotemporal region.
“The incident rate of the hanger reflex was remarkably high and most likely represents a prevalent phenomenon in humans. The mechanism underlying the reflex remains unknown,” the researchers concluded.
In another study conducted by a group of scientists in 2014, a hat-like device was placed on the subject’s head. The anterior and posterior temporal regions produced the best response.
Scientists now believe that the “hanger reflex” is an involuntary reaction and may be used to treat chronic illnesses like cervical dystonia — a painful condition in which a person’s neck muscles involuntarily contract and move the head from side to side.