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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What are goose bumps?

Chills and goose bumps

Goose bumps

A cold chill, also known as chills, is described as "a pleasant tingling feeling, associated with the flexing of hair follicles resulting in goose bumps , accompanied by a cold sensation, and sometimes producing a shudder or shiver."

Dimpled skin is often visible due to cold chills especially on the back of the neck or upper spine. Unlike shivering, however, it is not caused by temperature, menopause, or anxiety, but rather is an emotionally triggered response when one is deeply affected by things such as music, speech, or recollection.

Goose bumps are created when tiny muscles at the base of each hair, known as arrectores pilorum, contract and pull the hair erect. The reflex is started by the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for many fight-or-flight responses.

Canadian researchers have suggested that when humans are moved by music their brains behave as if reacting to delicious food, psychoactive drugs, or money. According to Caribbean Sociologist, Corey Alexander Lane, "The reaction from music is based on the memory induced emotion that some songs create." In the practice of music production this phenomenon has long been used to judge the quality and impact of a performance, particularly in recording studios during the playback process. The engineers and producers would say "You knew something was good if it gave you goose bumps." They would actually roll up their sleeves and visually check their arms.

The pleasure experience is driven by the chemical dopamine, which produces physical effects known as "chills" that cause changes in the skin's electrical conductance, heart rate, breathing and temperature. The responses correlate with the degree to which people rate the "pleasurability" of music.

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