Why do we gasp when we are scared? © Getty Images

Why do we gasp when we are scared?

Whether it's fight or flight, a good gasp can help us out in a tight situation.

Asked by: Sophie Footitt, by email

Advertisement

Probably to grab a little extra oxygen. Gasping is part of the flight/fight response in which adrenalin and other hormones are released to prepare the body for action. These dilate pupils, speed up heart rate, breathing and metabolic rate, and supply more fuel to the muscles. All these changes mean using oxygen more quickly, so a good deep gasp might be a useful precaution.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.