Why do we have Goosebumps?

When we feel cold, when we fear something or when we see a horror film on Television then suddenly goosebumps appear on our hand, isn’t it! Have you ever thought why it happens, why do we have goosebumps, is there any scientific reason behind it? Let us find out!
Created On: Oct 22, 2019 15:43 IST
Modified On: Oct 22, 2019 15:51 IST
Why do we have Goosebumps?
Why do we have Goosebumps?

In medical terms, the goosebumps are known as piloerection, cutis anserine, and horripilation. Goosebumps are little bumps that pop up on our skin at the base of hairs.

Science behind Goosebumps

 It is said that having goosebumps are a good thing. Goosebumps does not provide any sort of protection against physical danger or the environment but still is good as it shows that reflexes of the body are working normally. That is pilomotor reflex is functional. Do you know about pilomotor?

It is the scientific name of the phenomenon of goosebumps. Pilomotor reflex is a part of fight-or-flight response, it works when someone feels threatened in any way. As a result, adrenaline hormone is secreted in the body in large quantity, which helps animals and people to fight, defend themselves or run away.

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As we know that goosebumps not only occur when we feel danger or when we run from something. It can also be caused while experiencing some strong emotions, love, surprise or nostalgia. After releasing adrenaline hormone in the body, it causes an unconscious tensing of tiny musculature that is attached to each hair. Flexing of these muscles minuscule tugs the skin a bit tighter and causes tiny bumps at the base of the hair which is to be exposed. The most commonplace in the body where goosebumps appear or pilomotor reflex is at the back of neck, legs, and arms because these areas are the most frequently exposed a region of the skin that have hair and so, the sensation of rising those hairs can be quite strong.

When we feel goosebumps on the arms, the temperature of the body suddenly drop and we feel cold or wear a sweater.

More about Goosebumps

Not only humans feel goosebumps but animals also experience pilomotor reflex of the skin when they feel threatened or endangered in some way. Do you know that for hundreds of millions of years, animals have been relying on goosebumps to keep them safe and help them defend against predators?

The main purpose of the pilomotor reflex is to change the orientation of hair on the body of the animal. When in animals, goosebumps appear, they suddenly increase the amount of air between their skin and their hair. This air acts insulation and keeps animals warm during the cold winter months. When animals begin to feel cold, they also release adrenaline and their body reacts with it to defend against the threat. As a result, their hairs stand, boosts insulation and so, the animal does not freeze.

The other main function of the pilomotor reflex is for defence. When animals fight with a predator, or threatened, etc. adrenaline hormone releases in large quantities and cause their hair to stand end to end. Animal looks larger than their opponents due to goosebumps and also get an opportunity to escape.

So, now you may have come to know about goosebumps and science behind it.

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