Did you know that listening to music which we have an emotional attachment to, the body releases dopamine, resulting in goosebumps, or “chills.” The stronger the attachment, the more dopamine that is produced.
Goose bumps, also called goose flesh, goose pimples, the medical term cutis anserina, are the bumps on a person’s skin at the base of body hairs which may involuntarily develop when a person is cold or experiences strong emotions such as fear, nostalgia, pleasure, euphoria, awe, admiration and sexual arousal.
The reflex of producing goose bumps is known as arasing, piloerection, or the pilomotor reflex. It occurs in many mammals besides humans; a prominent example is porcupines, which raise their quills when threatened, or sea otters when they encounter sharks or other predators.
Other creatures get goose bumps for the same reason, for example this is why a cat or dog’s hair stands on end. In cold situations, the rising hair traps air between the hairs and skin, creating insulation and warmth. In response to fear, goose bumps make an animal appear larger – hopefully scaring away the enemy.
People often say they feel their “hair standing on end” when they are frightened or in awe. Another intense emotional situation that can cause goose bumps is the “fight or flight” response the body can employ in an extremely stressful situation. As the body prepares itself for either fighting or running, the sympathetic nervous system floods the blood with adrenaline (epinephrine), a hormone that speeds up heart rate, metabolism, and body temperature in the presence of extreme stress. The sympathetic nervous system also causes a reflex called piloerection, which makes the muscles attached to the base of each hair follicle contract and force the hair up. Goose bumps cause the hairs to stand up, just as porcupines raise their quills when threatened.
Goose bumps can be experienced in the presence of cold temperatures. The stimulus of cold surroundings causes the tiny muscles attached to each hair follicle to contract. This contraction causes the hair strands to literally “stand on end.” At the same time, the tiny muscles that are contracting are causing a “bunching” of the skin surrounding the hairs, which results in the “bumps” in goose bumps.
This is the body’s way of preserving its own heat by causing the hairs on the skin to stand up, thus reducing heat loss. Goose bumps are often seen in conjunction with shivering in these instances.
People also get goose bumps when they are hot, or in the presence of extreme heat. The main reason for this is sweat. As the perspiration accumulates on the skin, it naturally evaporates. As the sweat evaporates, it cools down the skin surface. As this process occurs, a dramatic temperature difference occurs and the body responds to the “chill” of the evaporation of the sweat and the “goose bump response” kicks in.