This Is Why You Get Chills While Listening to Your Favorite Song

Key Takeaways

  • Research suggests at least 55% of people experience pleasurable chills while listening to music they enjoy.
  • A recent study further examined this phenomenon to show how music activates the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, which raises the question of music’s role in human evolution.
  • With these primal properties in mind, listening to music can be considered an act of self-care that boosts the immune system and helps alleviate anxiety and depression.

You ‘ve got your headphones on, lost in a song, when a particularly brawny chorus or implemental break sends tingling ripples down your arms and legs. Or possibly the haircloth on the back of your neck stands on end. If you ‘re familiar with some interpretation of this find, you join the 55 % to 90 % of humans that experience the physical sensation of musical chills.

It ‘s a phenomenon that can occur during survive or recorded music, new or known, and it ‘s been well documented over the years. But one question persists : Why does it happen ?

Researchers have set out to find the answer, and a late study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience focused on mapping out the brain ‘s electric action during musical chills sheds further light on how music can activate the brain ‘s pleasure and reinforce centers.

The study

Neuroscientists based in France used high-density electroencephalography ( HD-EEG ) to illustrate patterns of cerebral bodily process when people are subjected to pleasurable musical chills. eighteen volunteers, 11 women and seven men, participated. All reported experiencing chills during enjoyable music anterior to the study .

Utilizing HD-EEG, electrodes were placed on a large area of participants ‘ scalps to scan and measure electric activity in the mind. once hooked up, each participant listened to five chill-inducing melodious excerpts they had provided, arsenic well as three extra neutral excerpts selected by researchers, and were asked to report on their aroused pleasure .

They did this by endlessly pressing one of four buttons corresponding with the saturation of the experience ( neutral, low pleasure, high joy, chills ). A “ cool consequence ” was defined as high aroused pleasure in combination with a physical sensation of goosebumps, tingling sensations, haircloth standing on goal, or shivers down the spine .

Thibault Chabin, Lead Researcher

Old brain circuits necessity for survival and implicated in motivated behaviors—such as sex, food, money—are involved, besides, in musical joy march. — Thibault Chabin, Lead Researcher
The scans revealed the presence of theta activity, which is associated with memory, wages anticipation, and care. These abilities are all key to musical aroused march. These results coincide with previous MRI and PET scan research and open a new door for understanding our ancestral relationship with music.

neuroscience and evolution

The findings of this study indicate our enjoyment of music might have once served an evolutionary aim .

” Old brain circuits necessity for survival and implicated in motivate behaviors—such as sex, food, money—are involved, besides, in musical pleasure march, ” says lead survey research worker Thibault Chabin. “ then, we know how, now we need to understand why music is enjoyable and rewarding. ”

Experts have retentive argued whether music has a biological routine. While some consider music a by-product of human universe, others theorize it gave our species a leg up .

Consider the fact that music is known to prompt the unblock of oxytocin, the “ cuddle hormone ” that promotes bonding, in the brain. From an evolutionary position, the second coming of music could have increased mutuality and social cohesion. Bonded groups that worked together were more likely to survive .

The oldest-known melodious instruments in the universe were discovered inside a german cave : a plant of 43,000-year-old flutes made from boo bone and mammoth bone. The instruments are thought to have been the first to be used in diversion and ritual.

” In a cave, the flute would ’ ve sounded divine, and that would ’ ve allowed for a sense of bind that would ’ ve reinforced survival, ” says professor of music therapy at Berklee College of Music, Kathleen Howland, PhD. “ The advent of the flute would have made for a noteworthy transfer in the community of these Homo sapiens. ”

Kathleen Howland, PhD

The second coming of the flute would have made for a noteworthy shift key in the community of these Homo sapiens. — Kathleen Howland, PhD
historically, music has been used as a cock to maintain this social cohesion a well. As a mean of identification, music often helps differentiate between in-group and out-group—think about today ‘s national anthems, protest chants, or the feel of chumminess induced by singing along at a live concert .

Anthropologists have suggested that these modern iterations of music might have evolved from “ coordinated territorial defense signals, ” like to packs of wolves howling at the moonlight. early humans made music together to further bail and promote survival.

Music For Mental Health

The aboriginal properties of music can be particularly useful to us today, even beyond the production of feel-good hormones. Thinking back to the first flutes, music has played a character in calming the human thinker since its beginnings .

” I could envision babies being born that were quieted with the music, ” Howland says. “ I feel instinctively that they had already figured out singing to the babies, because it would ‘ve preserved precious calories for their survival when they were not in distress. ”

As a music therapist, Howland is acutely aware of the ways in which certain types of music can trigger the brain ‘s relaxation reaction and help to alleviate anxiety and depression. Furthermore, studies have shown music can potentially boost the immune system and aid in treating conditions like Alzheimer’s.

” There are fantastic ways to get to that sweet spot—meditation, yoga, thai chi—but music has a sense of immediacy and acquaintance that is utilized intuitively and ubiquitously indeed that we in music therapy bring that intentionality to a person in trouble or anxiety in the hospital, ” Howland says .

As we navigate nerve-racking, unsealed times, music can be a powerful instrument used both independently and with others. Sharing the experience of listening to a favored birdcall with a friend,  incorporate dance and movement,  and even intertwining ocular arts interpretation like drawing or painting can amplify music ‘s beneficial mental effects.

“ If you ‘re in a place of top out try like we are now, in three to five minutes of a nibble of music ( you can ) get to a put where time seems to warp, you get lost in imagination, ” Howland says. “ It ’ s an easily accessible resource, and it ’ s a beautiful one to share. ”

What the future Holds

This study was the first of its kind to use high-density EEG to monitor cerebral activity during music listening sessions. Researchers like Chabin hope to advance the understand of musical pleasure, and this discipline is merely the begin. now that the foundation garment has successfully been laid to illustrate the brain activity associated with musical joy, the following phase of inquiry can be conducted outside the lab with the avail of EEG .

” This research in testing ground conditions was a beginning step before other experimentations in natural settings during concerts, in which we want to measure how musical emotions are transmitted between people, ” Chabin says .

With wireless mobile EEG systems, the cerebral activity of individual participants can be observed simultaneously within a group setting. A better understand of the aroused synchronism of groups will far piece together the puzzle of music ‘s character in our lives .

“ We will last unlock the magic of the biology behind it, ” Howland says. “ We ’ re chipping away further and further at it. It ’ south beautiful. ”

What This Means For You

While it ‘s ill-defined whether our ancestral association to music is linked to our survival as a species, it does have a positive effect on our brains. In nerve-racking times, listening to music is an easily accessible resource for promoting mental health .

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Category : music

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