Whether it’s Mozart or metal, listening to music can be an intense, even euphoric experience. Listening to your favorite tunes can evoke nostalgia-filled joyful memories, while soaring melodies can give your spine chills.
This itchy ‘chills’ you feel can actually be seen on brain scans; has been linked to activation of the brain’s reward and pleasure systems in previous brain imaging studies. Now, scientists have analyzed brain activity patterns related to the sensation of chills in music.
In this study, a high-density EEG device was used to measure the electrical activity waves in people’s brains as they listened to music with headphones and electrodes on their scalp.
The research team asked 11 women and 7 men (who reported experiencing waves of interest in music) to listen to a collection of sounds lasting 15 minutes and 90 seconds. Several excerpts were taken from participants’ favorite relaxing music and other recordings selected by the researchers.
Previously, research has shown that chills in music occur in two stages: anticipate before peak chills when the music is building and excitement is increasing, then. is the second peak orgasm period.
Eighteen music lovers in this study, who had an EEG, reported when they felt chills. More than 300 cases of chills and goosebumps have been recorded, each lasting an average of about 9 seconds.
But looking at the EEG results, the researchers could also detect chills other than these predictive moments.
And the results of some people must be excluded from the analysis if, for example, they did not experience any cases of musical chills in the experiments.
The good news is that researchers have found no association between the number of pleasant chills experienced and the years of music training a person may have experienced – meaning even if you weren’t. having musical talent, that is not a barrier to feeling chills. You can still enjoy the music as before.
Further analysis of EEG results showed that when participants felt chills and their stimulation ratings increased, brain activity also increased in the prefrontal cortex, the anterior lobe of the brain.
Using an algorithm, the researchers tracked this activity, at the brain’s surface, to activation of the anterior cortex, a region of the brain above the socket, integrating sensory and processing experiences. emotional management.
They also identified two specific types of chills associated with activity in the complementary motor region between the brain (or SMA) and the right temporal lobe, the vocal processing area, and possibly related sensory abilities. music.
The results are consistent with findings from previous imaging studies that also suggest that activation of these brain regions can activate the brain’s reward system and release the ‘feel good’ hormone, dopamine.
Research also opens up new avenues for research.
Neuroscientist Thibault Chabin from the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté in France said: “The fact that we can measure this phenomenon with an EEG offers research opportunities in other contexts, in the scenarios are more natural and in groups, ”said neuroscientist Thibault Chabin from the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté in France.
Unlike brain scanners, wireless EEG devices are easily transported, and as this study suggests, EEGs can be a promising tool for measuring music joy in concert halls or at a show.
Doing so may produce slightly different results from these lab experiments, as 18 people who participated in this study were expected to feel moments of relaxation.
Plus, further research may tell us more about why listening to live music can be such a rewarding experience, or how to share the joy with good music among friends and among others. group (something some of us may be lacking in this pandemic age).
“We wanted to measure how the brain and physiological activities of many participants were combined in the natural and social music scene,” said Chabin.
“Musical joy is a very interesting phenomenon that deserves more research, to understand why music is useful and to open up why music is necessary in people’s lives.”
Research is published in Borders in Neuroscience.