Think about the piece of music that gives you the most joy, and recall the feeling it gives you.
If you are struggling to do so, listen in to this spine-tingling performance of Ennio Morricone’s Extasy of Gold.
Did the hairs of your arms stand up, did you get a lump in your throat, or maybe a tingling sensation on the back of your head? If so, you might have a more special brain than you think.
Research undertaken by Ph.D. Matthew Sachs at the University of Southern California has shown that those who get chills from music may have structural differences in their brain.
The study tested 20 students, who listened to 3 to 5 different musical compositions. Ten of them reported feeling shivers, while the rest did not. The team then scanned the brains of all the subjects.
“[The ten who felt shivers] have a higher volume of fibres that connect their auditory cortex to the areas associated with emotional processing, which means the two areas communicate better,” Matthew told Neuroscience News.
In addition, the ten participants had a higher prefrontal cortex, which is the key to certain areas of understanding, such as interpreting the meaning of a song.
“People who get the chills have an enhanced ability to experience intense emotions,” Matthew noted. “Right now, that’s just applied to music because the study focused on the auditory cortex. But it could be studied in different ways down the line,” he added.
The research also discovered that those who are open to experience – in addition to people who have been musically trained – are more likely to report powerful emotional responses.
If you didn’t get goosebumps by listening to the first piece, have a listen to Rebekah Del Rio’s breathtaking performance of Llorando (Crying) from David Lynch’s masterpiece film, Mulholland Drive.
Which category of listener do you fall into? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed it.