Health

Why Do We Get Goosebumps?

We've all had goosebumps before, but why do we get them?

Why Do We Get Goosebumps?
Darryl Dyck / AP
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When you’re cold, watching a scary movie or maybe when your favorite song plays at a concert, you might get little bumps all over your skin. That happens when tiny muscles tighten up and make the hair on our skin stand upright. 

They’re called goosebumps. So why do we get them? It’s an involuntary response to intense emotion. That’s why you might get them when watching a horror movie. In fact the word "horror" comes from a Latin word meaning "to bristle with fear." 

Horripilation is the technical term for goosebumps. They got their name because they look like the skin of a plucked bird. 

Goosebumps have a practical purpose for animals. When an animals’ hair sticks up it makes it look bigger and helps protect it against predators. A raised layer of fur can also help keep an animal warm when it's cold. 

For humans goosebumps don’t act as any sort of survival reaction. Instead experts say it’s simply the result of a rush of adrenaline sparked by an extreme emotion.  

Box Office Top 3: 'Goosebumps' Rides Nostalgia Train To $23M

Box Office Top 3: 'Goosebumps' Rides Nostalgia Train To $23M

“Goosebumps” takes the No. 1 spot this weekend, bringing in an estimated $23.5 million and satisfying all your nostalgia needs.

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