We all remember hearing our first absolute banger for the first time and probably listening to it on repeat for an entire week until you made yourself sick of it.
But that one moment when you first heard that intro or that chorus was pretty darn awesome, and the same feeling rushes back every single time.
However, if you feel either goosebumps on your skin or what you can only describe as a lump in your throat when you listen to music, your brain could be pretty special. Bet you can’t wait to tell all your pals that.
A former undergraduate at Harvard called Matthew Sachs decided to see what this feeling really means, and why it only happens to certain people. Last year he took a group of people who get these sensations when listening to their favourite songs and investigated what exactly triggers it.
Sachs took a group of 20 people – 10 reported that they get chills from music, and the other 10 feel nothing, and scanned each of their brains to see if there was any actual scientific reasoning behind it, or if some people just really, really like music.
Turns out, there is! People who get a reaction from music make an emotional and physical connection to the sounds they’re hearing – pretty intense, right? You actually have a different brain structure to people who don’t!
Here’s where we get a bit technical: the fibres that connect the auditory cortex (the part that processes everything you hear) and the areas that process emotion have a denser volume than people who feel nothing at all.
The two areas of your brain communicate better, which means you probably feel stronger and more intense emotions – woah.
Sachs said “The idea being that more fibers and increased efficiency between two regions means that you have more efficient processing between them.”
And let’s not even get started on songs that we link to certain memories – whether that’s the one that always makes you smile and you get that little bubble of laughter remembering how much fun you had when you heard it the first time, or your go-to tear-jerker when you just need to let it all out. Yeah, we all have them.
Although this specific study was only on a small sample of people, Sachs is still working, further researching the brains activity when listening to songs that trigger certain reactions.
And while it is all pretty interesting, his studies are actually for good reason – he hopes that his discoveries can help him understand what neurologically causes these reactions, and use that information as a method to treat psychological disorders.
Sachs uses this example: “Depression causes an inability to experience pleasure of everyday things. You could use music with a therapist to explore feelings.”