Last updated on 19 Μαρτίου 2015
Ανατριχιάζουμε συνήθως σε δύο περιπτώσεις:
1) Όταν κρυώνουμε
2) όταν ακούμε ένα τραγούδι που μας αρέσει πολύ
Imagine swimming in a lake on a hot summer day. The water is quite warm, but the wind is strong and the moment you leave the water you feel chilly and get “goosebumps.” So you change clothes and move inside to warm up. You make a nice cup of tea, get under a blanket and switch on the radio. Suddenly, you hear a song from a long time ago, the song your grandmother used to sing to you when you were a child. Again, you feel a chill on your back and again, you get goosebumps. Why do such seemingly unrelated events elicit the same body reaction? The reason for this is the physiology of emotions.
Goosebumps are a physiological phenomenon inherited from our animal ancestors, which was useful to them but are not of much help to us. Goosebumps are tiny elevations of the skin that resemble the skin of poultry after the feathers have been plucked. (Therefore we could as well call them “turkeybumps” or “duckbumps.”) These bumps are caused by a contraction of miniature muscles that are attached to each hair. Each contracting muscle creates a shallow depression on the skin surface, which causes the surrounding area to protrude. The contraction also causes the hair to stand up whenever the body feels cold. In animals with a thick hair coat this rising of hair expands the layer of air that serves as insulation. The thicker the hair layer, the more heat is retained. In people this reaction is useless because we do not have a hair coat, but goosebumps persist nevertheless.
In addition to cold, the hair will also stand up in many animals when they feel threatened–in a cat being attacked by a dog, for example. The elevated hair, together with the arched back and the sideward position the animal often assumes, makes the cat appear bigger in an attempt to make the dog back off. People also tend to experience goosebumps during emotional situations, such as walking down the aisle during their wedding, standing on a podium and listening to a national anthem after winning in sports, or even just watching horror movies on television. Quite often a person may get goosebumps many years after a significant event, just by thinking about the emotions she once experienced, perhaps while listening to the romantic song to which she danced many years ago with the love of her life.