Feeling chills in response to music

December 7, 2010, SAGE Publications

Most people feel chills and shivers in response to music that thrills them, but some people feel these chills often and others feel them hardly at all. People who are particularly open to new experiences are most likely to have chills in response to music, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Researchers Emily Nusbaum and Paul Silvia of University of North Carolina at Greensboro asked students about how often they felt chills down their spine, got goose bumps, or felt like their hair was standing on end while listening to music. They also measured their experience with music, and five main dimensions of personality: extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Of all these dimensions, only openness to experience was related to feeling chills. People high in openness are creative, curious about many things, have active imaginations and like to play with ideas, and they much more frequently feel chills in response to music.

Why might people high in openness to experience report feeling chills more often? Surprisingly, people high in openness didn't have chills because they tended to listen to different kinds of music. Instead, people with a lot of openness to experience were more likely to play a themselves and they rated music as more important in their lives than people low in openness. Not surprisingly, people high in openness also spent more time listening to music.

"There are a lot of ways in which people are basically alike, but the experience of chills isn't one of them," said the authors. "Some people seem to have never experienced chills while listening to music—around 8% of people in our study—but other people experience chills basically every day. Findings like these are what the make the study of personality and music interesting— is a human universal, but some people get a lot more out of it."

More information: The article "Shivers and Timbres: Personality and the Experience of Chills From Music" in Social Psychological and Personality Science is available free for a limited time at spp.sagepub.com/content/early/ … 386810.full.pdf+html

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study listens in on speech development in early childhood

January 15, 2018
If you've ever listened in on two toddlers at play, you might have wondered how much of their babbling might get lost in translation. A new study from the University of Toronto provides surprising insights into how much children ...

Can psychedelic drugs 'reconnect' depressed patients with their emotions?

January 15, 2018
Imperial research suggests psilocybin can help relieve the symptoms of depression, without the 'dulling' of emotions linked with antidepressants.

Study suggests people dislike you more for humblebragging than for regular boasting

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers from Harvard University and UNC-Chapel Hill has conducted a study regarding humblebragging—in which a person boasts about an achievement but tries to make it sound less boastful by minimizing it—and ...

Can writing your 'to-do's' help you to doze? Study suggests jotting down tasks can speed the trip to dreamland

January 11, 2018
Writing a "to-do" list at bedtime may aid in falling asleep, according to a Baylor University study. Research compared sleep patterns of participants who took five minutes to write down upcoming duties versus participants ...

Study identifies brain circuit controlling social behavior

January 11, 2018
A new study by researchers at Roche in Basel, Switzerland has identified a key brain region of the neural circuit that controls social behavior. Increasing the activity of this region, called the habenula, led to social problems ...

Tamper-resistant oxycodone tablets have no impact on overall opioid use

January 11, 2018
The introduction of tamper-resistant opioid tablets does not have an effect on rates of opioid use or harms at a population level, according to a new study led by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

xponen
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Perhaps certain people felt certain level of emotional intimacy with the music; that's why they felt the chill, i.e: if you are walking down the street and there's a music broadcasting; you either open yourself and felt the music (take it inside) or you walk away like normal like it is nothing (don't take it).

Music has emotion content, music make you fell something; music that have deep bass and violins perhaps elicit strong sadness or danger; which is probably caused the chill(?).

I personally find this chill and deep feeling on the chest as disturbing, i.e; if you have things to do and this music is playing with your emotion; you'd rather close yourself up and not 'listen'.
geokstr
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
So what? Music is just of the stimuli that can cause chills. Some "non-partisan" "objective" "unbiased" "news" show hosts get tingles up their legs when their political idols deign to speak to the unwashed "small people". Whatever turns one on, I suppose.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.