Do You Get Chills from Music? If Yes, Here’s How Your Brain Is Wired

Sometimes, music is so good you experience a physical reaction. This is known as frisson and is positively correlated with your brain activity.



PHOTO | Wikipedia

If you’ve ever been listening to a song and suddenly noticed a physical reaction, you may be one of many people who experience a phenomenon called frisson, (pronounced free-sawn), a French term meaning “aesthetic chills,” and it feels like waves of pleasure running all over your skin. Simply described as goosebumps or more casually as a skin orgasm, it’s the result of your brain’s interpretation of certain sounds.

Musical passages that include unexpected harmonies, sudden changes in volume or the moving entrance of a soloist are particularly common triggers for frisson because they violate listeners’ expectations in a positive way. The number of people who report this sensation varies quite a bit, with researchers estimating that between 55 and 86 percent are more prone to chills.

For some, the frisson experience seems so normal that it’s a surprise to learn that others don’t have the same physical response. Individuals who have never felt goosebumps from listening to music probably think those that do are a little crazy, but recently, experts starting digging into what exactly happens in the brains of people who get frisson.

And while the results aren’t 100 percent conclusive, they do provide some insight into this interesting occurrence.

Music Blends with Science

Published in 2016 in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, a group performed a range of tests to see how frisson affected everyday people. Over 200 individuals in the Boston area were asked to complete a series of questions to determine their emotional responses to music and then were divided into subgroups based on those answers.

After being exposed to music that was more likely to induce chills than others, the participant’s reactions were measured. Not only did some experience goosebumps, but other physical changes including increased pulse, crying, or a sense of losing time were also recorded. While personality traits were factored into this study as well, it was clear that ongoing research was needed to really uncover the roots of frisson.

Your Brain Matters

Another study was conducted by a team of individuals from both Harvard and Wesleyan University in an effort to really see what’s going on in the brains of people who react so strongly to music.

Groups of individuals who reported having frisson before, as well as those who had never encountered the phenomenon, were assessed using a diffusion tensor imaging machine. This equipment gives researchers a visual representation of just how each person’s brain is wired, so to speak.

The results were fascinating; those with frisson had more nerve fibers connecting their auditory cortex to their anterior insular cortex — essentially, the link between how they process sound and how they process emotions is much stronger than in others.

It’s still unclear if these nerve endings developed over time, potentially demonstrating that frisson is a learned behavior, or if some people are just born this way.

Additionally, other studies have connected this concept with something called Openness to Experience. It delves deeper into personality traits and hypothesizes whether the chills caused by music are really due to an emotional reaction, or if the sounds are processed in a more intellectual way. Some experts think that the desire to predict where a song will go, in terms of melody or utilizing mental imagery, leads to the feeling of chills once their expectations were realized.

Ultimately, individuals who, as some might say, “get off” to music are a lucky bunch. It isn’t every day that you can put on a song, have some chills, and feel like you’re transported to another place.

As more research is conducted, perhaps it will be uncovered that frisson is a learned trait, and soon everyone can start feeling their music as much as they can hear it.

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Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty Star in New ‘Sonic’ Music Video



When you think of Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty and Sueco the Child, what springs to mind? If your answer is Sonic the Hedgehog, you’re ahead of the curve.

The quartet has teamed up to record “Speed Me Up,” the lead song on the upcoming Sonic movie soundtrack. They appear in the just-released video as 8-bit avatars and sing about topics including Sonic’s pal Knuckles and the fast-moving world of their lives.

The video starts with Wiz blowing into a Sega Genesis game cartridge and, real talk, you’ll be hooked from there. He’s then transported to the pixelated world of Sonic the Hedgehog, teaming up with Sonic and his fellow rappers to collect rings, jam out in Sonic’s bedroom and take on the evil Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey.

The song is the first drop from the soundtrack by Atlantic Records.

Things haven’t been smooth sailing for the Sonic movie. The first trailer featured Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, which felt really ill-fitting. The movie was scheduled for release in November 2019, but the initial rendering of everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog was met with less than positive feedback, leading to a design overhaul and a three-month delay on release. It’s now scheduled for release on February 14. Romantic!

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Legendary Guitarist Carlos Santana to Launch Premium Cannabis Brand



Carlos Santana
PHOTO | Carlos Santana

Legendary guitarist and long-time cannabis advocate Carlos Santana is getting into the business, becoming the latest musician to partner with Left Coast Ventures.

The products will include premium cannabis and hemp CBD products specifically chosen to pay homage to Santana’s Latin heritage while leveraging the power of ancient therapies and enable consumers to uncover and “follow their light,” according to Left Coast Ventures.

According to a press release, the collab will “honor Santana’s heritage while incorporating his divine philosophies by identifying strains and products that promote the spiritual consciousness and wellness effects of cannabis.”

The cannabis line will include flower and pre-rolls and is expected for a summer 2020 launch in select Californian dispensaries.

The hemp CBD brand is looking at a fall launch and will include topicals with formulations inspired by Santana’s family.

“Cannabis is a window or a door to different awareness of consciousness,” said Santana in a statement. “It gives you the choice to perceive through a different filter of awakening and healing, the misperception of distance as an illusion, which keeps you from being centered in your essence-core. It helps you arrive at knowing, accepting and owning a quality of life that is being with joy!”

10-time Grammy winner, Woodstock veteran and Hall of Fame guitarist Santana is the latest musician to join Left Coast Ventures’ list of partners. The company has previously launched cannabis products with Mickey Hart, drummer of the Grateful Dead (Mind Your Head) and the Bob Marley estate (Marley Natural).

“We are excited to launch cannabis and hemp CBD brands that deeply respect Latin heritage and celebrate the unique light of every individual,” said Brett Cummings, CEO of Left Coast Ventures.

“It’s a true honor to work with a dynamic legendary musician like Santana who has influenced millions through his music and shares our values and passion to legitimize the future of cannabis.”

Carlos Santana is currently on a world tour. Find out if he’s playing near you.

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Sharon Stone Sues Chanel West Coast Over “Sharon Stoned”



Sharon Stoned

From shout-outs to disses, namedrops are nothing new in rap. But when does a shout-out become something more? That’s a question Sharon Stone is asking Chanel West Coast — through her lawyers.

The iconic actress is suing the rapper for using her name “for commercial purposes” in the track “Sharon Stoned” without Stone’s consent.

The suit notes that the 2018 track turns Stone’s name into a hook, with the music video that followed in April of this year recreating scenes from Stone’s movies, including the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct.

It alleges that Chanel West Coast, whose real name is Chelsea Chanel Dudley, is “an aspiring rap artist who has desperately sought to garner credibility and stature in the hip-hop community,” by “attempting to capitalize on the former’s “extraordinary level of popularity and fame,” and it was the rapper’s intention to “trade on the fame and publicity rights of Sharon Stone for commercial gain.”

The suit contains a detailed breakdown of Stone’s career, from her roles and philanthropic endeavors, which is why she “maintains strict control over the manner in which her name, likeness, image, identity and persona are used,” and claims that Dudley infringed upon Stone’s identity and used Stone’s name “as a celebrity endorser” by using Stone’s name with “mantra-like repetition” in the lyrics, as “Defendant Dudley gratuitously repeats the name ‘Sharon Stone’ thirty-three times and the name ‘Sharon’ ninety-nine times.”

Stone also has an issue with the accompanying music video that uses her likeness as “celebrity endorser to promote the sale of cannabis paraphernalia without her permission or consent,” due to the product placement for Shine Papers.

The suit claims that the song and video show a “disregard of Sharon Stone’s right of privacy and publicity, and of her exclusive right to control the use and exploitation of her name, likeness, image, identity and persona,” and seeks punitive damages and any profits Dudley may have made from the song and video.

The suit contains quotes from Dudley in which she discusses wanting to “redo some classic, iconic Sharon Stone movie scenes” in the music video.

Dudley said in a statement that she was “surprised and disappointed” and claimed Stone was fully aware of the song, being set to appear in the music video, but “[Sharon] pulled out of participating in the music video the day of the shoot after months of conversations, in-person meetings with myself and the director, two dance rehearsals and even had her own ideas that she shared with myself and my team for the collaborative on the video.”

“To be frank, the entire production team and myself were surprised when she walked off,” said Dudley.

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