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 this past year research was published that might finally give us the answer.
Mathew Sachs a former undergraduate at Harvard studied individuals who get chills from music and individuals who don’t. This was an attempt to see how this feeling was triggered in general. This research covered 20 students total. Half who got goosebumps and the other half who did not. Sachs discovered that those who managed to make the emotional and physical attachment to music have a different brain structure than those who do not.
Sachs research showed that they had/have a denser volume of fibers that connect their auditory cortex and areas that process emotions. Basically, they are able to connect with music on a much deeper level than the group who did not get chills. These findings were published on Oxford Academic. It appears that these fibers being thicker give them an increased efficiency.
If you are someone who gets chills from music, then you are more likely to have stronger emotions than other people. While this study was a small one it was still quite informational. In doing this research Sachs hopes to learn what neurologically causes these reactions. He believes that in time these reactions could tap into some sort of treatment for psychological disorders.
For this research, he has the 20 students go into the lab with a playlist of their favorite music. They then had their brains monitored through a brain-scanning technique known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This shows how different regions are and how good the neural communications are between them. If these results end up standing up after more trials they may reveal how music has such a curious effect on the human body.
Who knows, maybe some day science can help musicians to induce chills at some point. What do you think about all of this? I, for one, think it is pretty accurate, I feel like I have stronger emotions than most people and get chills from music. Check out the videos below for a different theory on this as well, while we still don’t have a 100 percent answer I am leaning towards Sachs findings.