The voluntary control of piloerection

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Autonomic nervous systems in the human body are named for their operation outside of conscious control. One rare exception is voluntarily generated piloerection (VGP)—the conscious ability to induce goosebumps—whose physiological study, to our knowledge, is confined to three single-individual case studies. Very little is known about the physiological nature and emotional correlates of this ability. The current manuscript assesses physiological, emotional, and personality phenomena associated with VGP in a sample of thirty-two individuals. Physiological descriptions obtained from the sample are consistent with previous reports, including stereotypical patterns of sensation and action. Most participants also reported that their VGP accompanies psychological states associated with affective states (e.g., awe) and experience (e.g., listening to music), and higher than typical openness to new experiences. These preliminary findings suggest that this rare and unusual physiological ability interacts with emotional and personality factors, and thus merits further study.

Additional Information

PeerJ 6: e5292
Language: English
Date: 2018
Voluntary piloerection, Emotion, Personality, Openness to experience, Absorption, Autonomic physiology, Psychophysiology

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