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Ooh, I Just Got Goose bumps

It's been awfully chilly out there lately and I bet you've gotten your fair share of goose bumps. Want to know what causes them? Well, they're triggered by a reflex called piloerection (kind of funny name - don't ya think?). This reflex causes the little hairs that cover your body to stand up, because tiny muscles at the base of each hair contract. Which in turn makes those little bumps all over your skin giving it the appearance of a freshly plucked goose.

Like with a hissing kitty, piloerection is a response to cold or fear. But for people today, goosebumps are vestigial. That is a fancy way to say they serve absolutely no purpose. They do in fact NOT help you get warm.

Do you get goose bumps when you hear a moving story or nails scratching a chalkboard? Interested to know why? Then,

Goose bumps are an automatic response (like shivering or sweating) to strong emotions. Like other emotion-linked reflexes such as blushing, turning pale, and butterflies in your tummy, goose bumps are triggered by the limbic system of the brain.

So our skin gets bumpy when we hear beautiful music or watch scary movies, and that bodily response isn't driven by a physical prompt, but by a psychological one. Yet another example of the mind/body connection. Wow. I just gave myself goose bumps.

Join The Conversation
stone_soup stone_soup 10 years
It's actually more of use to animals to show aggressiveness to other animals that may be posing a threat to them. That's what I learn in biology anyway. ____________________________________ Don't tick me off. Or you'll get it.
Beaner Beaner 10 years
Totally. I hate being cold.
DStirk DStirk 10 years
Gooosebumps! i hate them, seriously I always have them... I call them goosepimples... anyone else with me?
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