If you have ever listened to a song that truly made you feel something, then chances are you got goosebumps. I know this has happened to me on multiple occasions.
Somewhere around half of the population has this reaction to their favorite music. Yet, for some time, the reason for it has been debated on. However, just in 2016 research was published that might finally give us the answer. The study was performed by Mathew Sachs, a former undergraduate at Harvard.
The reactions are known as frissions or an aesthetic chill also sometimes called a “skin 0rga$m,” Mitchell Colver wrote for ‘The Conversation. These are usually associated with music but can also happen when watching a movie.
Why do we get chills? The chills is a sensation we get when we’re cold. It doesn’t really make sense that your hair would stand on end, or that you’d get these goosebumps in response to music,” Matthew Sachs, an author of the paper, told Sample. “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 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.”
Researchers found that the brains of individuals who occasionally feel a chill while listening to music were wired differently that the control subjects. They had more nerve fibers connecting the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processed sound, to their insular cortex, a region involved in processing feelings. The auditory cortex also had strong links to parts of the brain that could monitor emotions.