TikTokkers take odd ‘hanger challenge’ to test reflex

photo of three wire hangers stacked atop each other

A TikTok trend that emerged during the 2020 quarantine days is making a comeback: the “hanger challenge.”

Participants place a clothes hanger on their head to test out a supposed “hanger reflex,” where the squeeze of the hanger causes heads to literally turn.

Is the hanger reflex real? A 2015 study out of Japan says that yes, it is — but it was only tested on 120 adults, a relatively small sample size. Further, the study didn’t determine why, exactly, the head reacts that way involuntarily when the hanger places pressure on either sides.

A note from this reporter: I, myself, am skeptical of the reflex. My roommate and I tried it out with a wire hanger, just like the researchers in the 2015 study, but our heads didn’t move at all.

Perhaps it’s because the placement of the hanger needs to be precise, or the hanger didn’t provide enough pressure. Regardless, it didn’t work for us.

Real or not, that’s not stopping TikTokkers and others online from sticking a hanger on their head to try it out themselves.

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