What makes music work

Victoria Williamson takes a look at a new paper on what makes music trigger an emotional response in the listener.

Have you ever had the experience of listening to a favourite piece of music and suddenly you get a little spikey feeling running down your spine? How about goose bumps on the skin? Maybe a tingling sensation at the back of your neck?

All these unique emotive reactions to music fall under the definition of ‘musical chills’, also termed frisson, thrills and shivers (and apparently, and intriguingly, ‘skin orgasms’!) Not everyone gets this sensation and some people get it very frequently.

It is an extremely intriguing emotional response to music that is almost entirely unique to each individual – both in terms of the sensation itself and the music that triggers it. However, a new paper has sought to determine whether certain personality factors reliably mediate the experience of musical chills.

Read her full post on how music affects us here.