Why do we get goosebumps?

These bumps or pimples regularly appear on your skin when experiencing cold temperatures. Resembling the skin of poultry (hence the name), they are a product of human evolution. When cold, your skin contracts and your body hairs stand on end. This makes the layer of hair thicker and therefore retains more heat to warm and insulate the body. Unlike many animals, humans do not have a full coat of hair but we still get goosebumps anyway.

Goosebumps also appear when an individual undergoes strong emotions. Ranging from fear to pleasure to nostalgia, the bumps come from the release of adrenaline around the body. This stress hormone is discharged whenever we are under strong emotions and come with an increase in blood pressure, butterflies in the stomach and trembling, sweaty hands. Going by the scientific term ‘cutis anserina’, goosebumps are also part of our ‘flight or fight’ reaction that gives muscles more oxygen and increases your heart rate in extreme situations.