Sunday, October 18, 2009
"What are goosebumps?"
Q. What exactly are goosebumps?
A. It's that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the temperature is getting colder, and the snow will soon fall. People are bundling up in their warm fuzzy sweaters, and wrapping themselves in 11 blankets. All of this means that those little bumps on your arms happen to come around more often.
Those little bumps happen to be called goosebumps. Not only can they be formed when someone is cold, but also when you are scared. Goosebumps are small bumps in the skin, which are caused by tightening muscles. These muscles pull body hair into an erect position. Goosebumps are a vestigial reflex in humans, which is from a long time ago left over from when we had more hair on our bodies. You may see this in certain animals when they are frightened, most symbolic would be cats when they are scared and there fur stands straight up.
The medical term for goosebumps is cutis ansernia, and going along with that the term “horripilation” is sometimes used to refer to the act of raising goose bumps. According to some scientists this muscle stimulation is part of the fight or flight system, meaning it is an involuntary motion, it just happens.
A signal from the automatic nervous system tells the muscles around the hair follicle to tighten, which in turn causes a bump on your skin. Some people may assume that goosebumps only form at the legs and arms, but they can also form on the face, scalp and chest, or basically anywhere else.
So the next time you are enjoying a scary movie or just really cold from a chilly breeze and these little bumps form, there is don't be alarmed.