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The Science of Goosebumps!

  1. Jun 12, 2013 #1
    I understand that goosebumps are stimulated by fear and cold in order to trap air between hair to keep us warm and make us look more intimidating. Of course today this trait is useless due to technology and ordered civilization.

    So adrenaline causes arrector pili muscle to contract and there fore causing the hair to point upwards. All this happens due to fear or cold.

    But i do not understand why we get goosebumps when we get excited when an innovative idea pops in your mind.

    Is there anything else that can trigger adrenaline?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2013 #2
    I think It's mostly related to the emotion of excitement, regardless of the nature of the activity that got you exited in the first place.
  4. Jun 13, 2013 #3
    Could you be more specific? What kind of muscles or nerves are responsible for the emotion and therefore for the goosebumps?
  5. Jun 13, 2013 #4

    I wouldn't classify exitement as a "stress", since I think of stress in negative terms, but a persons body is probably taxed by it as much as any negative "stress".
  6. Jun 13, 2013 #5
    I got it now, thanks.

    Just like fear, excitement is a type of stress. During stress, stress hormone (adrenaline) is released causing goosebumps.
    I have tendency to over-think things but this is quite simple.
  7. Jun 13, 2013 #6
    Personally, I don't think adrenalin is the whole story due to the fact I don't get goosebumps from all types of exitement or fear, only certain kinds. I suspect there's some other autonomic factor(s) that contribute to piloerection, but I don't see that there's much about it on the web.
  8. Jun 16, 2013 #7
    I agree, it's not the whole story. There are other stress hormones such as glucagon, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone. In right situation enough adrenaline will be released to cause goosebumps due to its effects on the arrector pili muscle. But others times when not enough adrenaline is produced or other stress hormones are triggered you don't experience goosebumps.

    That's how i picture it anyways.
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