Here’s Why Great Music Gives Us Chills
If you're a music fan, and you're currently reading an article from a radio station website, so yeah, you know there is no denying the musical chills, the cascading warm fuzzies up and down your spine, your anticipation of a killer song hook, chorus or lyric, and it's about to change your entire mood when it comes on the radio. That's how powerful the feeling is. It's those kind of moments we live to give you. But how does it come to this? What's the physical science behind the music excitement shivers?
Doctors in France scanned 18 people's brains with a voluntary EEG noggin sweep to understand why great music sometimes gives us goosepimples. Bring on the pleasure overload.
They saw surges of activity in two areas: the prefrontal cortex that deals with emotions and the right temporal lobe that processes sound. When those areas work together, we release a ton of the "feel good" hormone dopamine. And when you're anticipating a great part of a song coming up, you're even MORE likely to get chills when it hits.
Study authors believe this inherited function tied to music may reveal the brain’s ability to predict future events. As humans wait for something they know is coming, the brain releases more dopamine. Keep reading for the specifics, but careful, you can get lost real quick, but here goes:
Specific electrical activity in the orbitofrontal cortex is sparked when music aficionados experience a chill. This region is involved with emotional processing. There is also more activity in the supplementary motor area and the right temporal lobe, which handles auditory processing and musical appreciation on the right side of the brain. All these regions work together to help humans process music, stimulate the brain’s reward centers and release the “feel good” hormone dopamine. When you combine these reactions with the pleasurable anticipation of hearing your favorite chord strike in a song, the result is a tingly chill. This is a response that indicates greater connectivity in the cerebrum.
Also, if you're high, well, then there's that extra level of heightened sensation and euphoria, too, but that's a different subject for a different time.