You know that tingling, numbing sensation you get from Sichuan peppers? It turns out that 'tingling' and 'numbing' might actually be the best way to describe it. A series of recent studies has shown that the relevant ingredient in the peppers targets neurons that respond to touch and vibration, thereby triggering the buzzing perception.
What's more is that evidence suggests we all feel those tingling vibrations at the same frequency. (It's around a low G.)
If only science was always this spicy.
The task for the tingling volunteers was to try to match the peppery vibrations in their mouths to the vibrations they could feel in their fingertips as the researchers dialed the frequency of the box up or down — "They are closing their eyes and they're saying 'higher' or 'lower,' so it's kind of a bizarre situation," says Hagura — until the Sichuan buzz and the mechanical buzz converged on the same frequency, which turns out to be 50 hertz.