chills and cellos

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The paper "Chills As an Indicator of Individual Emotional Peaks" (ht: Vaughan at Mind Hacks) noted that "chills [defined as "goose bumps and shivers"] are a reliable indicator of individual emotional peaks, combining reports of subjective feelings with physiological arousal" when listening to music. The authors studied 95 subjects who listened to a variety of selections from Mozart, Bach, and Puccini:

...chills were reported by participants of both genders, of all ages, and with virtually all levels of musical education. The influence of familiarity with the stimulus was tested in detail, confirming that familiarity with a certain piece has a strong impact on the frequency, and that, at the same time, a more intimate knowledge of the piece does not increase the number of chills significantly.

I can attest to the last point, using two of Shostakovich's compositions as examples. His "Festive Overture" is a dramatic and stirring piece, but it doesn't give me chills the way "Novorossiysk Chimes" does. Another interesting point was the study's observation that "neuronal circuits corresponding to networks activated during sex, food intake, and drug abuse are activated during chill episodes." Since the experience of music is that powerful, can Musicoholics Anonymous be far behind? (And if MA is to have the standard twelve steps, will they be in three bars of four or in some other meter?)

"I admit that I am powerless over Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D..."

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Me too!

Thanks for having such a nice blog.

I'm blogrolling you.


"I admit that I am powerless over Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D..."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 19, 2009 10:49 PM.

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