A brain imaging study reveals why some people experience chills when listening to certain songs.
Having chills and getting excited while listening to particular music is a sign of a fine brain. The fact that during some songs or while listening to your playlist goosebumps is all a matter of brain nerve fibres: in " more sensitive " people and with very pleasant music, the auditory system joins the systems of emotion and of the reward of the brain.
This is supported by research published in Oxford Academic Press's Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience and conducted by Matthew Sachs, a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California, in collaboration with other researchers from Harvard University and Wesleyan University, Connecticut, according to all of which is due to the fact that there are many more fibres that unite two particular brain regions.
"The results obtained provide both scientific and philosophical information on the evolutionary origins of human aesthetics, in particular music, perhaps one of the reasons why music is a culturally indispensable artifact because it addresses directly through an auditory channel to the centers of emotional processing and social development of the human brain, ” explain the researchers.
What does it mean? That if music has a deep emotional response in certain people, it is because of their special brain.
Scholars involved a sample of twenty students selected online from over 200 candidates. They then selected 10 subjects brought to shiver at their favourite song and 10 who had never experienced this sensation.
The participants were then subjected to some tests to analyze their physiological reactions in response to their favourite songs: from this, it emerged that only half of the participants had goosebumps, despite being music fans. Those volunteers were subsequently subjected to brain scans ( diffusion tensor imaging, DTI), which showed that individuals who are chilled by the music have particular brain structures. That is, they would have a greater number of neural connections between the auditory cortex and the areas that process emotions. This means that in their case the auditory cortex and the areas used for emotions communicate better.
In short, those who goosebumps from music had more nerve fibres than from the auditory cortex, indispensable for listening, led to two other regions: the anterior insular cortex, involved in feelings, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which monitors emotions by assigning their value.
Brain connectivity would, therefore, determine the emotional impact and physiological involvement of some songs: people who feel the chills have stronger connections between the auditory system of the brain and the areas related to emotions.