Some experience chills listening to music

Dec. 9, 2010 at 1:24 AM
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- People high in openness are creative, curious, have active imaginations and more frequently feel chills in response to music, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers Emily Nusbaum and Paul Silvia of University of North Carolina at Greensboro asked students about how often they felt chills down their spine, got goose bumps, or felt like their hair was standing on end while listening to music.

The researchers measured their experience with music and five main dimensions of personality -- extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to experience.

Of these five dimensions, only openness to experience was related to feeling chills, because people with a lot of openness to experience were more likely to play a musical instrument themselves and they rated music as more important in their lives. They also spent more time listening to music.

"There are a lot of ways in which people are basically alike, but the experience of chills isn't one of them," the researchers say in a statement. "Some people seem to have never experienced chills while listening to music -- around 8 percent of people in our study -- but other people experience chills basically every day. Findings like these are what the make the study of personality and music interesting -- music is a human universal, but some people get a lot more out of it."

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