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What Does It Mean When Music Gives You Chills?

Music has the incredible power to evoke strong emotions, and for some individuals, it goes beyond just a pleasant experience – it gives them chills. A study conducted by Matthew Sachs, a PhD student at USC, delves into the fascinating world of individuals who experience these musical chills and uncovers the structural differences in their brains.

Sachs' research, initially conducted during his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, focused on people like Alissa Der Sarkissian, who described her experience with Radiohead's "Nude." According to Sachs, individuals who get chills from music exhibit distinctive brain characteristics. Specifically, they possess a higher volume of fibers connecting the auditory cortex to regions associated with emotional processing.

In simple terms, these individuals have brains that communicate more efficiently between the auditory cortex and emotional processing areas. Sachs explains that the increased connectivity results in more efficient processing, enhancing the ability to experience intense emotions. While the study primarily focused on the auditory cortex and its connection to music-induced chills, Sachs suggests that this enhanced emotional processing could extend to other stimuli.

The implications of this research extend beyond the realm of music, opening doors for further exploration into the broader spectrum of emotions and stimuli. Sachs, currently studying psychology and neuroscience at USC's Brain and Creativity Institute, is involved in various projects that explore the intricate relationship between music, emotions, and the brain.

As we listen to our favorite tunes, it's not just about the melody; it's a unique journey into the complex workings of our brains. The next time you feel those musical chills, know that your brain is orchestrating a symphony of emotions, creating a connection between the auditory and emotional realms that is truly extraordinary.



Does music give you chills? Let us know @healthandbass :)


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