Tickling is a rather interesting phenomenon: When humans or apes are touched in certain areas like the armpits or sides, we respond with laughter AND frantic attempts to stop the assault. Obviously our ticklish areas tend to be very vulnerable, so it makes sense that we would want to protect ourselves, but why do we respond with laughter? How might both of these reactions to tickling have evolved? Do they have the same evolutionary purpose or different ones?
Tickling probably evolved from a defense mechanism but then gradually changed into a more social action, as explained in Provine, 2005 (PDF):