If you’ve ever been to a gig where the hair on everyones’ arms around you are standing up during a particularly special moment but yours aren’t, we may have an explanation for it. And it’s not that you’re heartless.
A PhD student at a Utah University, Mitchell Colver, decided to look into the link between cognitive personality type and being moved by music.
As published by The Conversation, around two thirds of people experience frission meaning “aesthetic chills” which is usually caused by listening to emotional music or even looking at an artwork. It’s never really been worked out, however, why some don’t experience it and some do. So Colver decided to figure out why.
“We predicted that if a person were more cognitively immersed in a piece of music, then he or she might be more likely to experience frisson as a result of paying closer attention to the stimuli,” Colver wrote.
“And we suspected that whether or not someone would become cognitively immersed in a piece of music in the first place would be a result of his or her personality type.”
To test this, participants were hooked up to a machine that measured their skin response. They were then played various pieces of music by artists including Air Supply, Hans Zimmer and Chopin.
Each of the songs were said to contain one thrilling or climatic moment that might cause frission. By getting the participants to sit a personality test as well, Colver deduced that those who experienced the sensation possessed a personality trait called “openness to experience”.
“Studies have shown that people who possess this trait have unusually active imaginations, appreciate beauty and nature, seek out new experiences, often reflect deeply on their feelings, and love variety in life,” he wrote.
This has apparently been proved before, however, Colver has discovered that it’s not the emotional side of the personality trait that is causing the reaction to music, it’s the cognitive – “such as making mental predictions about how the music is going to unfold or engaging in musical imagery (a way of processing music that combines listening with daydreaming).”
In simpler words, those who immerse themselves in the music on an intellectual level are more likely to experience goosebumps or chills than those who simply let it wash over them.
If you think you’re someone prone to frission then there’s a reddit group for you. It’s full of music that will give you goosebumps and Dami Im’s Eurovision performance is there so it must be good.
Watch below and check if you get chills.
Watch: Dami Im – The Sound Of Silence (Live At Eurovision)