Why Does Music Give Me Goosebumps?

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There you are listening to JAM Project’s “The Hero” and you get that quiver down the spine as the vocalists scream the first verse. How does that happen? Why does music give us goosebumps? How can we humans have such physical and emotional attachment to music?


Goosebumps From Music

A former undergraduate student at Harvard, Matthew Sachs, did a research on this very topic.

Sachs concluded that people who can get chills while listening to music are wired a bit differently than those who cannot. The former have more fibers in their brain connecting the section of the brain that process information coming from the ear to the section that process emotions. As a result, information is processed more efficiently between those two parts.

The denser pathway between the two sections of the brain is not the only reason why you get chills. Memory also plays a big part. When you listen to music that links to a highly emotional memory, it can trigger a strong reaction.

However, researchers from Hanover University, Germany, have different views on it. They say that people who get chills down their spine while listening to music are reward-driven kind of people instead of thrill seekers.


Your familiarity with the music you’re listening to is also a major contributing factor. When you’re listening to something you love and you know what part is coming next, your brain rewards you with a rush of dopamine when that part finally comes.

The researchers also said that the listener’s relationship to the music plays a big part. Certain elements of the music such as the voice, loudness, roughness, and sharpness may strike a harder chord since you appreciate those parts more than the others. It’s all based on your personality and music taste.


Another key point worth noting is most people get goosebumps only when they’re listening to the music attentively. There should be a conscious act to enjoy the music.

There’s an exception to that rule, though. Some music contains parts that are so powerful, they pique your attention even when you’re not actively paying attention. The music takes a shortcut to your nervous system through strong stimulation that evokes positive emotional process.



All said, the take-home note is that if you’re the type that gets goosebumps listening to music, cherish it. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to experience such bodily reaction. And at the end of the day when you want to wind down for a while, just head over to Ambient-Mixer.com. There are plenty of pre-made ambient sounds there giving you all kinds of vibe. While many can give you chills, we recommend you explore the calming ones too. We all need a little balance in our lives, right?

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