Here's why you get goose bumps while listening to music

Goose bumps
Goose bumps Photo credit: Getty Images

If you're the kind of person that gets chills when your favourite song comes on, you may be interested to hear that phenomenon is pretty rare and has connections to how our brains work. 

American Matthew Sachs discovered this as part of his undergraduate studies at Harvard. He wanted to investigate how the reaction to music was triggered, so he studied the brains of a small group of students - 10 who got the reaction and 10 who did not.

Looking at the scans he realised that the participants that got chills had a different brain structure to the others. 

In the auditory cortex and emotional processing there are more fibres connecting the two, meaning that there is increased communication with the two areas. 

"People who get the chills have an enhanced ability to experience intense emotions. Right now, that's just applied to music because the study focussed on the auditory cortex," Sachs explains.

What this means is that because of the increased connections in the brain people who get the chills experience emotions with more force than those who do not have the chills. 

While this initial study was small, there can be more research in this area in the future, Sachs says.