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If you feel 'chills' when you listen to really good music, you might have a special brain

Listening Rex
Listening Rex

If you ever feel ‘chills’ running up your spine when you listen to music, you might actually have a special brain.

People who feel a funny ‘chill’ while listening to songs that they love actually have differences inside their brain – and it could affect the way they feel emotions.

Alissa Der Sarkissian, a research assistant at the University of Southern California, says that when she listens to the song Nude by Radiohead, ‘I sort of feel that my breathing is going with the song, my heart is beating slower and I’m feeling just more aware of the song — both the emotions of the song and my body’s response to it’

Der Sarkissian investigated the phenomenon last year at USC – and found that people who get a ‘shiver’ actually have more fibers connecting their auditory cortex to brain areas associated with emotions.


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Researcher Matthew Sachs says, ‘The idea being that more fibers and increased efficiency between two regions mean that you have more efficient processing between them.’

The researchers write, ‘Together, the present results may inform scientific as well as philosophical theories on the evolutionary origins of human aesthetics, specifically of music: perhaps one of the reasons why music is a cross-culturally indispensable artifact is that it appeals directly through an auditory channel to emotional and social processing centers of the human brain.’

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