Open Ear Blog

I got the chills, they're multiplying...

Ever had the chills while listening to music? Whether it’s goosebumps, hair standing on end, or a shiver up the spine a lot of us know the feeling. That said, apparently only 53% of the population experience it, though our less than robust research methods (we’ve asked around) suggest that figure could be on the low side.

For those that do experience chills it’s something quite special when it occurs. Biologically, chills occur when we respond to stimuli unconsciously, when our autonomic nervous system kicks in and puts us on high alert. The reward centre of the brain, particularly the nucleus accumbens, starts to fire on all cylinders when we get musical induced chills too. In non-scientific parlance; it’s pretty intense.

The brilliant thing is that while certain musical ‘tricks’ like key changes and other unexpected changes to harmony and musical structure can trigger chills, it’s highly unlikely that we all experience chills in the same way. So while Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain may give one person a lump in their throat, another may as likely find themselves reduced to tears listening to Paolo Nutini.

Have we piqued your interest? There’s a great article that got us thinking all about music induced chills that discusses the topic far more eloquently than we can. You can check it out here.

 

[We’re really very, very sorry for the title… We couldn’t help ourselves. Enjoy that earworm]

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