Why does music chill and thrill some people?

December 8th, 2010 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) Most people feel chills and shivers in response to music that thrills them, but some people hardly feel them at all.

People who are particularly open to new experiences are most likely to have chills in response to music, according to a new study.

Researchers Emily Nusbaum and Paul Silvia of the University of North Carolina in the US asked students about how often they felt chills down their spine, got goose bumps, or felt like their hair was standing on end while listening to music, reports the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

They also measured their experience with music, and five main dimensions of personality: extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness to experience, according to a North Carolina statement.

People high in openness are creative, curious about many things, have active imaginations and like to play with ideas, and they much more frequently feel chills in response to music.

People with a lot of openness to experience were more likely to play a musical instrument themselves and they rated music as more important in their lives than people low in openness. Not surprisingly, people high in openness also spent more time listening to music.

“There are a lot of ways in which people are basically alike, but the experience of chills isn’t one of them,” said the authors.

“Some people seem to have never experienced chills while listening to music - around eight percent of people in our study - but other people experience chills basically every day.”

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