When we get excited, when we feel fear or cold, it is common to notice that the skin bristles. A phenomenon that we popularly call as ‘goosebumps’ and whose scientific term is piloerection, in which the muscles that are touching each follicle from which each hair that covers our skin is born (piloerector) contract, causing the hair to rise and causing a small bulge around it.
But why does this happen involuntarily in the face of such opposite events as joy, cold and fear?
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Scientists since Charles Darwin have linked this response, elicited by the sympathetic nervous system, with an evolutionary vestige of our body. A reaction similar to that of animals when they feel threatened and raise their hairs, especially on their backs, to appear larger. Something they also do when they are excited while playing.
According to the Hypertext medium, to this is added another utility that the human body and that of mammals developed: bristling the hair also made the air remain concentrated around us, making it possible to warm up slightly in the face of the cold.
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Logically, for humans these mechanisms now have no greater value than an expressive reaction to not having enough hair to appear larger or provide protection from the cold.
However, goose bumps do not only appear in the face of these two factors. The skin can also bristle at a song that brings back special memories or the victory of a favorite team. Reaction that may be linked to hormonal changes.
Science links the mechanism directly with the secretion of adrenaline, the same hormone of arousal and impulses that makes us alert to threats, it also makes us aroused in this way when listening to a song that transmits us a special melancholy.
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