Getting chills while listening to music: It means your brain is extra special

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How many a times does it happen that you face a spine tingling sensation or the hair on your arms stand up after listening to a certain melody, vocal note, symphony or your favorite Pop tune?

Well, if a recently conducted independent study is anything to go by, it means that you're brain is actually extra-special for letting you experience that. 

Matthew Sachs, a graduate student at the University of Southern California who conducted the experiments at Harvard University said that his findings showed there were structual variations between the brains of those who experienced such reactions to music, and the ones who didn't.

"We think that the connectivity between the auditory cortex and these other regions is allowing music to have that profound emotional response in these people," he added. "It's very hard to know whether or not this is learned over time, or whether these people naturally had more fibres. All we can say is there are differences that might explain the behaviour we see."

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To conduct the study, people were divided on two sets of group - based on whether they experienced chills/goosebumps while listening to music or not.

The volunteers then had their brains monitored with the help of a brain-scanning technique called diffusion tensor imaging.

The findings of the test showed that the people who experienced 'chills' in response to the music they liked, had more nerve fibres running from their auditory cortex, which is needed for hearing, to the anterior insular cortex, which is involved in harvesting and managing feelings, and the medial prefrontal cortex, which is believed to organize emotions.

"The chills is a sensation we get when we're cold. It doesn't really make sense that your hair would stand on end, or that you'd get these goose bumps in response to music," said Sachs.

"It stemmed from a deep interest in intense, profound emotional responses, in particular those that come from music," he said.

Sach wishes to use the science behind the study in the treatment of various psychological disorders.

So the next time you get chills while listening to the awe-inspiring depth of Johnny Cash or the soaring belts of Whitney Houston, you also happen to have a special kind of brain yourself!

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