Have you ever seen someone scratch an itch, or just READ about an itchy incident, and felt a sudden, overwhelming urge to scratch? Makes sense. Because like yawning, itching is socially contagious. Meaning, if one person does it, others tend to follow. But it’s NOT empathy, or all in your head. Washington University School of Medicine researchers say the reaction is hardwired into our brain. When mice saw a video of other mice scratching, activity spiked in the brain area called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which controls the sleep-wake cycle, and can trigger a physical need to scratch.