Do you every get chills when listening to a certain song? You know the feeling – you listen to your favorite tunes and every hair on your body stands up and you feel goosebumps on your skin. This unexplainable sensation can go through the whole song or just parts, and if you’ve ever experienced it, you are truly special. According to a new research, people who get chills while listening to music are biologically different than the rest of us.
I Got Chills, They’re Multiplying!
Matthew Sachs, a student from the University of California, recently conducted a research in order to see how music affects our brain. The study involved 20 subjects – 10 of them have reported getting chills while listening to their favorite music, while the other 10 never experienced music chills. During the tests, the scientists took brain scans of the subjects while they were listening to music. Those who experienced the chills were found to have a larger number of neural connections in their brain, more specifically the emotional processing center, prefrontal and auditory cortex, the centers which the brain uses to interpret music. The study actually showed that people who get the so-called chills (known as “frisson” scientifically), have a stronger emotional connection when hearing their favorite tunes.
What kind of music causes chills?
Well, it depends on the person. According to William Halimou, a student who also did a research on music chills, the tune is definitely personal. However, according to another study that Halimou pointed out, sudden dynamic changes or unexpected harmonies can cause shivers down anyone’s spine. Other studies have discovered that modulation changes, peaks in loudness and human voice melodies are more likely to cause chills. This means that although the chill-inducing music is personal, there are some general characteristics that might invoke the chills.
Halimou says that there might be an evolutionary reason why we experience the chills. After going through a ton of past research, Halimou concluded that the chills might be related to socio-emotional systems which are activated in situations like separation distress. The same brain areas that light up during separation distress were also lit when subjects listened to music, which means that music may invoke almost the same feelings as hearing a child crying for his parents.
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