Whether it's an Adele belter that gets you going, or your more of a classical symphony lady, we've all had that experience of a piece of music being so good that it gives us the chills. 

So why do we get that goosebump-y feeling, where shivers run down our spines and the hairs on our arms stand on end?

Well, the experience is called a frisson; although it's been dubbed a 'skin orgasm' by some researchers. Scientists have explained it as an evolutionary leftover from our early ancestors, who kept themselves warm through a layer of heat trapped in their (much hairier) skin. Experiencing goosebumps after a rapid change of temperature raised then lowered these hairs, resetting this layer of warmth.

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Luckily, we have clothes instead of hair to keep warm these days, but the physiological response is still in place – basically, we're wired to produce these 'chills' as a reaction to stimuli, except now it's beauty in art or nature, rather than a change in temperature, that prompts them to occur. 

Studies have also looked at why some people experience this feeling more often than others.

The research by Utah State University, recently published in the Psychology of Music, discovered that it was 'openess to experience' that made someone more likely to get that tingly feeling. This is unsurprising given that people who possess this trait have been shown to appreciate beauty and nature more, have unusually active imaginations and really engage with the music they listen to. 

So, if you immerse yourself in the music more, rather than letting it flow over you, you're more likely to experience that frisson magic. Enjoy! 


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