Have you ever gotten the feeling of goosebumps, or raising hair, when listening to one of your favourite songs?
Tunes like this get it done for us:
If music can elicit physical sensations like goosebumps, or a lump in your throat, well your brain may be unique.
Matthew Sachs, a former undergraduate at Harvard University, studied this music phenomenon to find out just how these feelings are triggered.
His research included 20 students, half of which said they experience those sensations when listening to music, while the other half felt no such things from their listening. Sachs took brain scans of every participant for comparison.
He discovered that the 10 students who made an emotional-physical link through music actually had unique brain structures, compared to the 10 students who felt nothing post-listening.
The scans revealed the 10 unique brains were comprised of a denser volume of fibres, which connects the auditory cortex and areas that process emotions, allowing the two areas to communicate with one another more effectively.
“The idea being that more fibers and increased efficiency between two regions means that you have more efficient processing between them.”
In other words, if you get the chills listening to music, you’re more susceptible to stronger or more intense feelings and emotions. These sensations are also linked to memories associated with certain songs, which are uncontrollable in a lab setting.
While the first study was relatively small, Sachs is already broadening is research, now looking at the brain’s activity when hearing songs that elicit specific reactions. He hopes to learn what the neurological cause of these reactions could be, which may lead to treatments for psychological disorders.
“Depression causes an inability to experience pleasure of everyday things. You could use music with a therapist to explore feelings.”
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