If you get chills while listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” or just about any song, then you are actually special! In particular, you might even experience sensations like goosebumps or a lump in your throat when you listen to music.
A graduate student of the University of Southern California named Matthew Sachs researched on the effect of music on the human brain. A total of 20 students took part in his study. Ten of these students reported feeling chills while listening to their favorite songs, while the other ten did not report such feeling.
Specifically, each student was asked to listen to a music of their choice. The researchers then scanned their brains and found out that those who have chills reaction while listening have a unique neurological structure.
Frisson, as the scientific community calls it, is the proper term for these musical chills. And the research of Sachs discovered that those students who had frisson have a significantly greater number of neural connections among their auditory cortex, emotional processing centers, and prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the interpretation of a song’s meaning. These connections imply a more efficient neural processing between two regions. Furthermore, the research concluded that those people who get goosebumps or chills while listening to music generally experience emotions more intensely than those who don’t.
Nonetheless, Sachs and colleagues admit that the limitations of their research are the small number of population used and the difficulty of the phenomenon to be observed. Hence, they are conducting a follow-up research which involves the examination of neural activity patterns of people who get goosebumps as they listen to music.