Do you absolutely live for that moment when you discover a song so great it gives you chills? Or do you get an otherworldly sensation when listening to your favorite music? If so, that means you belong to a unique group of people in the world.
People who experience Goosebumps along their arms or a lump in the throat when they hear music are quite special and rare.
I definitely remember how I felt when I heard ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin for the first time.
Last year, Matthew Sachs, a former undergraduate at Harvard, studied individuals who get sensations from listening to music. He wanted to see what triggered this feeling.
The research focused on 20 students, 10 of which admitted to having had these kinds of reactions to music and 10 that didn’t. In addition, brain scans of all 20 students were taken and scrutinized meticulously.
Eventually, it was discovered that those who are able to make an emotional and physical attachment to music have different brain structures than those who don’t.
Those triggered by music had more densely packed fibers in their auditory cortex, as well as the areas of the brain that process emotions. As a result, their two regions of the brain communicate much better than in other people.
Sachs’s findings have been published on Oxford Academic, and he has been quoted by Neuroscience as saying:
“The idea being that more fibers and increased efficiency between two regions mean that you have more efficient processing between them.”
What he means by this is that if you do get chills from music you are more likely to have more intense and stronger emotions. Also, it should be pointed out that these sensations can also be associated with memories linked to a certain song, something that can’t be controlled in a lab setting.
Although the study was done on a small scale, it definitely proved a major difference in people’s brain cell structures.
Sachs is currently conducting further research to look into the brain activity of people who register certain reactions when listening to songs. He hopes he will able to determine the neurological causes for these reactions and could actually use them to help in treating psychological disorders.
Who knows? Someday your therapy sessions may involve sitting in a chair and listening to Led Zeppelin.