I would say when you win (e.g. a tennis match), you jumps upwards to
show that you're "above" the other. In this sense, it is also a form
of non-verbal communication ("I am happy" and "I am better").
Another jump-inducing scenery is a crowd. First, one might want to see
more of what's happening. Second, e.g. on a rock concert, one wants to
follow the rythm of the music. Added to that, one expresses that one
is feeling lifted up, light, flying, independent of gravity, fit and
Or, one might have just conquered a fear, or feels some other form of
great relief. Sometimes, we also jump out of shock (e.g. seeing a
giant black spider crawling the bathroom ceiling).
I'd argue every adrenaline rush must somehow result in drastic body
movement to free the tension. This can also be done by clapping hands,
throwing a fist up in the air, shouting something like "Yay!", or
singing a song. Group dynamics, as described by Robertskelton's
comment, do the rest to spread the movement unto others of the crowd.
Smaller feelings of happiness, those that are less sudden, might
simply result in whistling, humming, smiling, stretching, tapping on
the table, or shaking from left to right.
When we contrast these positive emotional outbursts to the negative
ones, we get further insights. If you're suddenly unhappy (e.g. when
losing a tennis match), you will: hit your fist, go down on the ground
in contemplative stance, look up to the sky and cover your face with
your hands, stamp the ground, shake the head, or throw an object near
to you towards the ground or the wall. I would say in general these
are more downwards expression, expressions of hiding yourself,
lowering yourself, to the point of self-inflicted pain (like slapping
Here are some voices collected from the World Wide Web. As you will
see from this, jumping can express both happiness and shock:
- "I jump because lately - nothing makes me happier"
- "I like to close my eyes when I jump because it makes me land funny"
- "I jump because I can"
- "... and the phone rings and I JUMP because I'm hoping it's my
- "... sometimes I jump because I scare myself"
- "I jump because it creates a false sense of security."
- "I jump because it's possible to avoid life by facing death"
- "I jump because my terrific neighbors are being obnoxiously
patriotic and launching 20 inch shells in their backyard. But it's the
- "I jump because it hurts, and I fall off the sidewalk"
- "I jump because it catches me unexpectedly"
- "I jump, because there's no time to waste and serious consequences
are in the offing if I hesitate"
- "I jump because I'm ticklish"
- "I jump because he wasn't there a moment ago and now he's breathing
on my neck."
- "... then I jump because I hear someone moving ..."
- "I jump because I wasn't paying careful attention"
- "I jump because I didn't hear her come into the kitchen"
- "I jump because you startled me"
- "I was jumping, because I'm a small person"
- "I was jumping because there was always some dude who came out of
now where and totally surprised me"
And added to all that, jumping up and down is also good exercise.
Why Should I Exercise? The Benefits of Exercise
I asked some people  why are we jumping up and down:
- "It's probably cultural, i.e. learned."
- "Or just...spur of the moment action"
- "I mean, I don't think that your ankle muscles go into spasms when
happy hormones are released."
- "And I don't do it."
- "You should ask a chick... chicks jump up and down a lot when happy"
- "It's possible that happy hormones give you temporary energy... like
adrenaline (...) and it might be natural to spend it, instead of
- "Yeah, just getting caught up in the moment ... Like someone
snapping and doing something violent"
- "It's called the "Eureka Syndrome" ... usually accompanied by
running naked through the street"
I hope this helps!
 The people were from science and philosophy chat channels and
agreed to be quoted anonymously.
"we jump because"
"we are jumping because"
"people jump because"
"why people jump up"
"i jump because"
"why do we exercise" body physical science
"biology of expression"
evolution "physical expression" action science
Clarification of Answer by
23 Apr 2003 01:43 PDT
Thanks for asking for an answer clarification. Let me specifically
focus on evolution, behavior patterns and the tension-release
I quote from following article:
"[The] brain automatically sets the interconnected structures into
action; Amygdala, hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, which are located in
the medial part of cerebral hemispheres in our brain, start sending
messages into our bloodstream and therefore into the whole body. (...)
This explains nervousness, which we often feel before certain
situations; Amygdala stores the messages received in the past and
sends the 'remember' signals to the body when we come across a likely
similar event that caused fear in the past. Fear increases the
adrenaline release and consequently human reaction follows depending
on amount of adrenaline the body receives.
The positive signal works the other way round; brain releases
noradrenaline hormones and body receives them with calming effects.
However, there are some positive signals that create the same effects
as a negative one; being extremely excited or extremely happy are
these type of emotions."
"When amygdala receives the nerve signal indicating the treat, it
sends out signals that triggers defensive behaviour, autonomic arousal
(usually including rapid heartbeat and raised blood pressure
(hypothalamus)), hypoalgesia (a diminished capacity to feel pain)
somatic reflex potentiation (such as an exaggerated startle reflex),
and pituitary gland- adrenaline axis stimulation (production of stress
hormones). These physical changes lead to the reaction."
And in another paper, Greenberg is quoted: "Autonomic reflexes are
among the richest sources of adaptive behavioral patterns and this is
most vividly manifest in the evolution of social signals"
I could locate this from the Google Cache at:
It might be jumping up and down is also a "conditioned reflex", as
discussed by Ivan Pavlov. And, a form of ritual dance; cultures all
across the world share some dancing characteristics -- like tribal
dance and techno raves, which both consist of jumping up and down
repeatedly. Dancing is a positive release of tensions, and other
repetitive motion can suffice to do the same (like throwing up your
fists repeatedly, or screaming). Now it's hard to say how exactly this
specific motion of jumping up and down has come into creation during
evolution and cultural behavior patterns, but it might be the
increased body temperature  and heart rate  are part of getting
into a rush, thus making jumping up and down a self-stimulation
pattern to enhance the already existing joyful feelings, while at the
same time releasing energy.
Hope this clarifies!
Behavioral Ecology and Evolution of Behavior
"Behaviours are often described as either instinctive or learned. But,
in reality, the majority of behaviours rely on both inheritance and
the effects of the environment."
 What is Heat? How is it created?
"So, put energy into a system and it heats up, take energy away and it
cools. For example, when we are cold, we can jump up and down to get
 Bodywalk Program Guide Key Concepts [PDF]
"When you jump up and down, your heart beats faster"
adrenaline release evolution
noradrenaline release evolution
"behavioral patterns" evolution reflexes
reflexes site:.edu jumping
"releasing adrenaline" site:.edu
"instinctive reaction" behavior evolution
"evolution of behavior"
"jump up and down" site:.edu