When you listen to music, do you connect to it on an emotional level? Do certain songs and certain moments in them send shivers down your spine and give you goosebumps? For me, there are a bunch of tunes that take me to another place and spark a specific memory in my head. For example, this is one of my favorite songs of all time.
Every time I hear it I get goosebumps, and I flash back to myself driving around Lawrence, Kansas when I was about 20-years-old. Experiencing these kinds of emotions from music is pretty rare. A study from 2016 examined this phenomenon to see how getting chills and goosebumps from music is triggered.
10 people who do experience the aforementioned emotions and 10 who do not participated in a study by Matthew Sachs, a former undergraduate at Harvard. Sachs discovered that people who connect to music emotionally and physically have different brain structures than those who don’t. These folks tend to have a denser volume of fibers that connect the auditory cortex and areas that process emotions, resulting in the two areas communicating better with each other.
Sachs believes that a strong attachment to music means a person has stronger overall emotions. He is currently conducting more research that focuses on how music that causes certain reactions affects brain activity. Sachs’ ultimate goal is to use his research to help treat psychological disorders. Sachs says, “Depression causes an inability to experience pleasure of everyday things. You could use music with a therapist to explore feelings.”