Trilby Beresford
Updated May 29, 2016 @ 9:09 am
747homerescue/Flickr/Creative Commons

The sound of running water can be relaxing and wonderful in many circumstances, whether it’s from a bubbling stream, a raging waterfall, or a drizzling rain. But those sounds become not so perfect when you really need to pee. Then it just makes things worse; the need to pee more urgent! But why is that? Well, our friends at SciShow have made a video that explains the reasoning, and it’s actually more obvious than you might think.

Psychologists and Urologists who study the urinary tract claim that hearing the noise of running water really does make you feel like you need to pee, because the power of suggestion is present. Running water sounds a lot like urinating (i.e. we’re not all crazy). And due to the fact that we literally spend a lifetime performing the same bathroom routine — using the toilet and hearing it flush, washing our hands under the faucet, taking showers and baths — we have come to associate many of those bathroom sounds with the act of peeing. When you think about it, it makes total sense.

The video makes the comparison to a dog being trained to associate the sound of a bell with the act of being fed, and performing the conditioned response of drooling. So when we humans hear the sound of running water, we associate it with peeing — and our conditioned response is needing to pee. It’s all freakishly simple, but downright fascinating how the mind works. Not that this helps us out when there’s a rainstorm in the middle of class, or when we’re stuck in wilderness hiking along a beautiful stream with absolutely no facilities in sight!

Phew, all this talk of running water! Bathroom break, anyone?