Most people report that listening to music sometimes creates chills—feeling goose bumps and shivers on the neck, scalp, and spine—but some people seem to never experience them. The present research examined who tends to experience music-induced chills and why. A sample of young adults completed measures of chills, the Big Five domains, and their music preferences, habits, and experiences. Latent variable models found that openness to experience was the strongest predictor of the typical experience of chills during music. Several mediation models considered likely mediators of this effect. Openness to experience predicted music preferences, particularly for reflective and complex genres, but genre preferences did not in turn predict chills. In contrast, several markers of people’s experience and engagement with music in everyday life, such as listening to music more often and valuing music, did mediate openness’s effects. Some implications for bridging state and trait approaches to the chills experience are considered.
Source: “Shivers and Timbres: Personality and the Experience of Chills From Music” from Social Psychological and Personality Science