New research explains when music gives us the “chills”
Ever experienced when a certain song starts to play and you get a chilling feeling running trough your spine and your skin comes out as goosebumps? and we’re not talking about drugs. Then you might be one of the two-thirds of the population that experience this known as “frissons” or more familiar, “skin orgasms”.
This sensation has stumped researchers for centuries and now with new technology and modern brain scanning equipment, scientists may now have made some break-trough in understanding what this reaction is.
Researchers in United States put out a call for music fans who have had experienced euphoric sensations on hearing certain songs, or who hardly ever felt them at all.
What the researchers found was that the brains of individuals who occasionally feel a chill while listening to music were wired differently than those who never felt them at all. They had more nerve fibers connecting auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes sound, to their anterior insular cortex, a region involved in processing feelings. The auditory cortex also had strong links to parts of the brain that may monitor emotions.
“We think that the connectivity between the auditory cortex and these other regions is allowing music to have that profound emotional response in these people. It’s very hard to know whether or not this is learned over time, or whether these people naturally had more fibers. All we can say is there are differences that might explain the behavior we see.” says Matthew Sachs,a graduate student at the University of Southern California who conducted the experiments at Harvard University.