Does music give you goosebumps? Your brain may be unusual

If you ever get the the chills while listening to music, your brain structure may be different from others, according to a recent study

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Harvard University student Matthew Sachs conducted an experiment, which was published in Oxford Academic, to determine how the brain reacts to music.

To do so, he examined 20 students. Half of them admitted to feeling goosebumps when rocking out to tunes, while the other half did not. 

After analyzing the results, he discovered that those who react emotionally or physically to music have a different makeup than those who don’t. 

Sachs found that those who get goosebumps have a greater volume of fibers that connect to the areas of the brain that process emotions. On the other hand, those who don’t get chills have a smaller volume of fibers connected to the emotional part of the brain.

“Pleasurable valuation of music is associated with increased functional connectivity in the brain between auditory cortices and mesolimbic reward circuitry,” the study said. “Based on these previous findings, we predict that structural connectivity between auditory- and reward-processing regions gives rise to aesthetic responses to music.”

While he said he does not understand why this works for some individuals and not others, he believes the findings can help scientists “gain a better understanding of the reward circuitry and the evolutionary significance of aesthetics for humans.”

For future studies, Sachs hopes to test their theory using activities, such as visual art, dance, poetry and architecture. 

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