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Research Finds If Music Gives You Chills Your Brain Might Be Special

Do You Get Goosebumps When You Listen To Your Favorite Song?

If you get goosebumps when listening to music, it may not just be your emotions. 

In fact, new research suggests it may be that you have a unique brain. 

Researchers at the University of Southern California examined brain scans of 20 college students, half experienced intense reactions to music while the other half did not.

Scientists compared the brain scans of each student after they listened to a piece of self-selected music. They found that those who had strong reactions to the songs had a unique neurological structure. 

Those who actually experienced chills had a significantly larger amount of neurological fibres linking their auditory cortex to the area of the brain that processes emotions. 

Mathew Sachs, one of the study’s co-authors explained “More fibres and increased efficiency between two regions means that you have more efficient processing between them.”

Due to these enhanced neurological connections, the authors of the study hypothesized that people who experience goosebumps while listening to music may in fact experience all of their emotions at a higher level of intensity than those who don’t. 

According to USC News, research assistant Alissa Der Sarkissian believes that her entire body completely changes when she listens to the song “Nude” by Radiohead.

She explained her reaction this way, “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.”

The authors believe that their initial findings could lead to further research examining the effect music has on the entire brain and not just the auditory cortex.

In a previous study performed at the University of New York in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen researchers found that music was key in helping people manage their emotions. 

In that study Dr Hauke Egermann a Neuroscientist evaluated the response of 20 participants to four different songs. What they found was that listening to what were classified as “sad” songs could actually elevate someone’s mood. 

Dr. Egermann said, "These findings provide further evidence that music can form an important part of our overall mental wellbeing, helping us to regulate our mood.”

"In particular, we have shown that music can override the negative impact of feeling sad and actually allow us to enjoy this emotion in a safe environment.”

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