Quirks & Quarks

Quirks & Questions: Why do our hands and voice shake when we're nervous?

Our primitive brain can't help itself.
In his early days, British politician Winston Churchill was a nervous public speaker. (Getty Images)

Our question this week comes from a listener in Orlando, Florida, via Twitter. Jim Vujovich wants to know why our hands shake and our voices tremble when we feel anxious or stressed.

Dr. Tamara Franklin, neuroscientist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says that it's our bodies' "fight or flight" response kicking in, because we are responding to a perceived threat. That big room full of people at your sister's wedding waiting for you to speak is the modern-day version of a tiger ready to pounce. 

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