The 'Hanger Reflex' Is Mesmerising People Across The Internet

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
Left: A girl in a pink sweater is stretching a pink plastic coat hanger to fit around her head. Right: A girl in a white shirt and braids has a metal hanger already around her head, and is making a shocked expression with her hand raised to her mouth.
twitter | @b_ideo

Internet trends, namely TikTok ones as of late, can be anything from cool to weird to dangerous. Thankfully, the latest trend to sweep the web is pretty harmless, and actually rather fascinating when you learn more about it!

Everyone is testing out their 'hanger reflex', a mysterious involuntary movement that takes place once you stick a hanger around your head. There's more to this slight turn than meets the eye, though.

The latest internet trend has people putting coat hangers around their heads.

A row of white coat hangers hanging on a white coat rack.
Unsplash | Andrej LiĊĦakov

They're all testing something called the 'hanger reflex'. This involves fitting a coat hanger over one's head, then watching as their head instinctually turns to the side without their control.

Of course, seeing one person do it makes people want to try it on themselves, thus a chain reaction starts.

And a new trend is born, one that often results in shocked reactions.

People can't seem to understand why their body is moving without them telling it to, and under such strange, specific circumstances.

Turns out the hanger reflex has been around for quite some time. First reported in 1991, but properly studied in 2015, where 120 people performed the act and 95.8% of them had their heads turning.

It's also not as random as it appears.

A photo of someone involved in research regarding the hanger reflex, suited up in some type of headgear that appears to be pressing on the front right side of his head.
twitter | @schoppik

Every turn of the head is done away from the hanger's hook.

Researchers actually created a device that recreates the reflex by pressing on the front temporal region of the head, causing subjects to turn towards it instinctually.

This isn't the first time it's made the rounds online, either.

This trend has blown up on TikTok previously, but was recently revived by Twitter user David Schoppik. He's a researcher at NYU who studies balance, and he made an educational thread regarding the hanger reflex that got rather popular.

In the thread, he shared some of the devices made to replicate the phenomenon.

He showed how similar reactions could be replicated in peoples' hips and ankles, and how this research has resulted in devices being made to help people with dystonia, a type of muscle tone disorder.

It's a pretty fascinating feat all things considered!

The human body can really get up to the strangest, most unexpected things. What may not seem to serve a functional purpose besides leaving people shocked and amazed online can lead to some pretty incredible discoveries that will help people for decades to come.

h/t: Input Mag