Why Do You Get Goosebumps While Listening To Music?

Frisson typically lasts a few seconds, and involves piloerection-commonly known as goosebumps-and a release of dopamine. Some scientists believe that the sensation is tied to moments in music that are unexpected, and thus trigger a pleasurable version of our fight-or-flight response. One psychologist recorded frisson as a symptom of an SEM, or a "strong experience related to music." People who experience SEMs can also exhibit tears, elevated heart rate, and feelings of giddiness.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. When you're listening to a familiar song, your brain releases dopamine both before and during the song's peak. 00:14

  2. Some scientists theorize that "music chills" are caused by the body's fight-or-flight response. 00:53

  3. One study showed that about 90% of music students had experienced frisson. 01:33

Written by Curiosity Staff November 12, 2015