A new study conducted by teams at Harvard and Wesleyan University has explained the universal experience of getting "chills" from listening to emotionally moving music. Published in Social Cognitive and Affect Neuroscience, two groups of 10 individuals were studied: subjects that claimed to regularly experience frissons and those that didn't. Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging, the teams discovered that people who experience "chills" actually have more nerve fibers connecting their auditory cortex to the sections of the brain that handle physical sensations and emotions. On top of that, subjects who analyze music on a more intellectual level – i.e. predicting melodic progressions or associating mental imagery – are more likely to experience a response. The study also revealed that the brain actually doesn't widely recognize the difference between "chills" and the feelings conjured by sexual intercourse or even drug use. The brain is a beautiful thing.
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