This Is Why You Get Goosebumps When You Listen to Good Music

Hint: it's good news for your brain!

musicEugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock

Has this ever happened to you? You’re listening to a great song, recorded or live. It explodes into a rousing chorus or an epic instrumental break, and goosebumps suddenly shoot up and down your arms. You already know how your favorite type of music can predict your personality, but this reaction is unexpected. Why is this skin phenomenon, so often associated with the cold or unpleasant sensations, also triggered by good tunes? And why does this happen to some people and not others?

goosebumpsThanaporn Pinpart/ShutterstockIf you’re one of the people who commonly experiences this, there’s a pretty cool reason why. An Oxford Academic study attempted to get to the bottom of this phenomenon, and the researchers discovered that it has to do with brain structure. If good tunes give you the chills, the auditory cortex of your brain (which processes the information you hear) and your brain’s emotional processing centers have more fibers connecting them than the average person. What this means is that your brain is capable of a wider, and more intense, range of emotions.

Though the research is still in its early stages, study author Matthew Sachs thinks this information could be put to good use. He hopes that “these revelations could have an impact on the treatment of depressive disorders,” and that music could help treat people with depression—or, at the very least, help them better access positive feelings. After all, science has proved that music can instantly make you happier.

So, your physical reaction to that gut-wrenching Adele song means that you’re particularly ~in tune~ with your emotions. So turn up the volume (with this super useful volume hack for iPhones) and bring on the feels, goosebumps and all.


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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for who has been storytelling since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. Her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine in spring 2017. Meghan is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.