How do people get their taste in music

Why music can give you goose bumps

Music makes us dance, sometimes moves us to tears - and can even give you goose bumps. Researchers found out why some people get goose bumps when listening to melodies and why this indicates very special brain structures

Music is a global phenomenon of the brain

Music doesn't always need words to touch us. The melodies also sometimes hit us directly. How do you do it?

Hardly any part of the human brain is not involved in processing the impressions when music reaches our ears. Music drives straight into the brain stem, the oldest part of our brain that is sensitive to sounds. If there is a bang, it emits a warning signal and slow tones sound, our body relaxes.

Neuroscientists at the Université de Bourgogne also found out through studies that the human brain tries to analyze acoustic signals for their emotional significance when listening to music. The study results suggest a highly specialized ability that enables people to draw emotional conclusions from acoustic stimuli.

The episodic memory connects music with memories

In contrast to the computer, the human brain does not store individual information, but remembers entire situations. This creates connections between the melodies heard and memories that interact.

When we associate music with important events in our life, sounds evoke the emotions associated with them. The so-called "episodic memory", a part of our long-term memory, is responsible for this connection. Anyone who has heard the Beatles in their car every time they go on vacation with their parents as a child will, for example, get the smell of the leather seats again when they hear the first chords of "Yesterday".

But even if everyone associates certain feelings and memories with music - some people never get goose bumps when listening to music. So which factor is responsible for the formation of goosebumps?

Particularly intense feelings cause goose bumps

Alissa Der Sarkissian, research assistant at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, together with her research colleague Matthew Sachs, investigated how the brain activity of people who get goose bumps at certain melodies differs from those who do not feel them.

The results of the study, which Alissa Der Sarkissian and her colleagues published in the journal "Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience," show that people who get goose bumps when listening to melodies have far more connections between the auditory cortex and the brain regions that process it of feelings are responsible.

These connections ensure that the different areas of the brain communicate better with one another. As a result, some people experience certain emotions with music even more intensely than those whose brain regions are not so well connected - and feel goose bumps when listening to music.

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