Why Do You Get the Chills When You Hear Something Thrilling or Moving?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

Why Do You Get the Chills?

Q: Why do you get the chills when you hear something thrilling or moving?

Oz Says: For our ancient ancestors, chills were a handy response to danger — they caused the little muscles around our hair to contract to make it stand on end, so we'd appear bigger and less appealing as prey, says Christopher Lowry, PhD, an associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. There's no clear reason we should get chills when we're not under siege. Scientists suspect that emotional moments (like big changes in a music score) startle our sympathetic nervous system into action the way an out-of-nowhere appearance of a zombie in a horror flick could. It's not that we think we're in danger, but somewhere deep inside, we get stirred up in the same way and have the same response.

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This story originally appeared in the January/February 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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