Thibault Chabin and colleagues at Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté “have now used EEG to link chills to multiple brain regions involved in activating reward and pleasure systems.”
“Participants of our study were able to precisely indicate ‘chill-producing’ moments in the songs, but most musical chill occurred in many parts of the extracts and not only in the predicted moments,” Chabin said in a statement.
For this study, Chabin and his team recruited 18 people who frequently experience “a shiver running up the spin in response to a particularly beloved chord...and asked them to identify pieces of music that work this magic on them. They also marked when in the piece the chills occurred and rated their strength,”IFLScience.com reported.
These participants were hooked up to EEGs and played their chosen music to them. The team then noted when they experienced a chill and how long it lasted. They were able to identify two distinct patterns, however in both instances theta wave activity decreased in the right central region and right temporal region of the brain.
“What is most intriguing is that music seems to have no biological benefit to us,” Chabin said. “However, the implication of dopamine and of the reward system in processing of musical pleasure suggests an ancestral function for music.”