Many people when listening to a specific song feel a tingle creep up their arm, the hair on the back of their neck stands up and they will notice goosebumps on their skin. During the whole length of the song they are feeling chills, a sensation that seems to be difficult to explain.
As it doesn’t happen to all people when listening the same song that means that those people who experienced that feeling may be biologically different than others.
The Chills Can Be Multiplying
This condition is closely explained by Matthew Sachs, a graduate student from the University of California in the study conducted to studying the effects of the music on the brain.
Matthew included 20 student participants, 10 of which reported that they got chills when listening to specific song, and 10 that didn’t.
Matthew took the brain scans of the students who felt chills (‘frisson’), which showed that those students have a significantly higher number of neural connections between their auditory cortex, prefrontal cortex and emotional processing centers. The prefrontal cortex has role in higher-order thought, such as interpreting a song’s meaning.
Particularly, those students who got chills, have been experiencing a stronger emotional connection to the music than the 10 people who didn’t get chills.
What Kind of Songs Cause Chills?
This matter is analyzed by William Halimou, a 4th year undergraduate student at Oberin College, who wrote a paper on music-induced ‘chills’, gaining insight as to why certain people report these sensations when listening to certain songs.
According to Halimou the induced chills by music are a form of frisson and they consist of instinctive shivers and tingles down the back and arms and goosebumps, together with positive feelings. He also states that chill-inducing music is very personal, and varies across individuals.
Another study leaded by Harrison and Loui found that moments of modulation, peaks in loudness, and melodies in the human voice or human vocal register are common chill-inducers. Taking everything into account, even the chill-inducing music is largely personal, there may be some general music features that evoke chills.
Halimou explains the evolutionary reason why the people may experience these sensations. He emphasizes the study by Gunther Bernatzky and Jaak Panksepp, where the brain areas are thought to play a role in separation distress and observed activity in these regions during the experience of chills. He also think that the chills are related to socio-emotional systems that produce separation-distress.
So, when everyone next time hear the favorite song, he or she should check do these feelings exist.