The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Study on nasal habits a little out there

Rhinotillexomania. Ever heard of it? Everyone does it, even though most won’t admit to it.

The term spawns from a 1995 study published in the Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers in this study mailed a “rhinotillexomania questionnaire” to 1,000 Dane County residents trying to find the answers to one simple question: Do you pick your nose?

(For the not-so-science-savvy, rhino means nose; tillexis refers to the habit of picking at something; and mania refers to an obsession with something.)

Some may scoff or become queasy, but this study actually took place, and the results are astounding, if not amusing.

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The study concluded that 91 percent of the respondents admitted to picking their nose in the past and engaging in the habit on a regular basis.

For those not-so-bright Dane County residents, the questionnaire actually defined the picking of one’s nose: “Insertion of a finger (or other object) into the nose with the intention of removing dried nasal secretions.”

That’s so nasty. But it’s real. And it was conducted by a bunch of dudes and dudettes in white coats who call themselves scientists.

So much for saving the planet. People are most concerned with the contents of the nose.

It’s a habit that most have grown accustomed to, but it remains socially unacceptable. And for good reason.

The picking of one’s nose can quite possibly be the most disgusting thing to do in front of others. Especially when the picker pulls out a big booger and is forced into the awkwardness of deciding what to do with it.

Anyone else grossed out? Good. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Nose-pickers can be found most commonly in automobiles on the freeway. For some reason, motorists think driving 65 mph in a vessel with transparent windows provides disguise for picking.

But it’s not. Face it, the attractive boy or girl riding next to you saw the deed. And he or she surely won’t forget it. Until, of course, that person is caught picking later on down the road.

The point of the matter is that everyone picks their nose, and everyone is afraid to talk about it. We’re never going to make any progress as a society if we hide our most disgusting, but most common, habits.

Here’s some advice: If you don’t pick your nose, don’t try to start. It may be tempting to excavate those nasty boogies from the nasal cavity, but it’s not worth it.

To put it frankly, once you start, you can’t stop.

Oh, quit whining about how disgusting this all is. We all know people who complain about nose pickers are digging themselves, they just won’t admit to it.

A little word of caution to those who carelessly pick their nose: About 18 percent of the respondents to the questionnaire reported nosebleed as a detrimental side-effect. And 8 percent reported eating their boogers.

These figures are painful and disgusting at the same tim, but then again, so is picking your nose.

The bottom line is that picking your nose is common, just be careful when you do it. And be sure you know when to stop.

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Study on nasal habits a little out there