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The Science of Goosebumps Doesn’t Exactly Explain Frisson, But It Makes a Good Argument

Ever had a sudden chill that made your whole body shake or hair stand on end? You’ve probably had goosebumps. No, not Goosebumps, the young adult horror novel series, but goosebumps, where your flesh reacts to the cold by literally producing bumps. The science of goosebumps as explained by AsapSCIENCE is surprisingly straightforward, but music chills, or frisson, is a little more difficult.

Goosebumps, which owes its name to the way plucked poultry looks, is essentially our body trying to regulate the temperature around us. It tries to build an air buffer by raising our hair, which creates the bumps. This is all made possible by adrenaline.

Adrenaline, however, isn’t only produced when we’re cold. We also make loads of the stuff when we’re, say, afraid. That’s why you get goosebumps when you get scared: It’s a byproduct of your fight or flight response producing adrenaline.

Frisson, or music chills, is more difficult to explain. Check out the video to hear what AsapSCIENCE has to say on it:

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