MUSIC GIVES YOU CHILLS
Earlier, we spoke about music pleasure, which occurs when you, or actually your brain, knows what’s coming next while listening to a song. And when your playlist strikes all the right chords, the rise of dopamine can take your body on a physiological joyride by increasing your heart rate, body temperature rising, redirecting blood to your legs and activate the mission control centre for body movement. However, the ultimate climax happens when the brain flushed with dopamine triggers a tingly sensation down your back — the so-called ‘chills’.
What makes this extra interesting, is that those dopamine levels that causes the chills can peak several seconds before the song’s special moment. It’s is because of the predicting features of the brain, which evolutionarily speaking, it’s a handy habit to have since making good predictions is essential for survival.
These sensations also stimulate our motivation system; making us enjoying a piece of music, deriving pleasure from it, wanting to listen to it again and being willing to spend money for it. It almost sounds like a drug. Research shows that music, it seems, may affect our brains the same way that sex, gambling, and chocolate do. But we guess you already knew that.
But did you know that about 50 per cent of people gets chills when listening to music? 50 per cent! “A study, carried out by PhD student Matthew Sachs at the University of Southern California, has revealed that people who get chills from music might have structural differences in their brain.” “The study also found that people who are open to experience, as well as people who have more musical training, are more likely to report strong emotional responses.”
“The most powerful chills occur when our expectations are being met, and the reward system in our brain becomes more active.” That ties back to the dopamine-inducing guessing game our brain likes to play.” As a result, being familiar can enhance the thrill of the chill.” But music is tricky. It can be unpredictable, teasing our brains and keeping those dopamine triggers guessing. The greater the build-up, the greater the chill. Perhaps that’s why 90 per cent of musicians report feeling chills.