People who get goosebumps while listening to music are more in touch with their emotions, study shows

A new study shows music-induced chills point to structural differences in the brain

We all react to music differently. For some, it’s a soothing wave, a blanket that mellows us out. For others, it’s a cathartic thing, a way to shake off the shackles of everyday life. A small portion of those might even see a physical reaction to their favorite songs in the form of goosebumps—for this writer, pretty much anything by Sharon Van Etten will do it.

Turns out that those goosebumps can actually tell you something about the structure of your brain. A study by USC PhD student Matthew Sachs, published in Oxford Academic, argues that those who get chills from music have structural differences in the brain. What this means, as explained by Neuroscience, is that these individuals “have a higher volume of fibers that connect their auditory cortex to the areas associated with emotional processing, which means the two areas communicate better.” Basically, you’re subject a wider, richer range of emotions.

The study was only conducted with a small group of 20 people, but Sachs hopes to put his findings to the test in the future, using them as a means of exploring “individual differences in sensory access” to aesthetic reward sensitivity. In an interview with Quartz, Sachs said these revelations could have an impact on the treatment of depressive disorders.

“Depression causes an inability to experience pleasure of everyday things,” he says. “You could use music with a therapist to explore feelings.”

Embrace those goosebumps, people. It means you feel more than the everyday person. And that’s a good thing.

Below, watch Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar’s video for “goosebumps”:


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