Unleashing the Power of Goosebumps: The Surprising Emotional Effects of Aesthetic Chills

Summary: A new study suggests that experiencing aesthetic chills, or goosebumps, during stimuli like music, movies, and speeches can lead to increased emotional intensity and positive valence. The study findings may have implications for understanding the role of embodied experiences in perception and decision-making and for the treatment of dopamine-related disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and depression.

Source: Neuroscience News

Having aesthetic chills or goosebumps while listening to music or watching movies can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional state, according to a new study.

For the study, the researchers investigated the emotional consequences of aesthetic chills and their effect on test subjects’ perception and evaluation of stimuli.

The study included more than 600 subjects. Participants were exposed to a range of movies, songs and speeches from ChillsDB, an open source repository of stimuli that induce aesthetic chills. Participants who reported experiencing goosebumps, or “the chills,” reported more positive valence and increased arousal compared to those who did not experience aesthetic chills.

The results suggest that the experience of aesthetic chills plays a role in influencing a person’s perception and affective evaluation of stimuli. This also supports theoretical models that emphasize the importance of interoceptive cues during decision-making and perception.

It shows a woman listening to music with headphones
This finding suggests that the embodied experience of chills may play a role in influencing the perception and affective appraisal of a context. Image is in public domain

The researchers also assessed the role dopamine plays in salience signaling and precision coding, which have been associated with better emotional recognition. The results of this study, they suggested, call for further investigation into the chills phenomenon in disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and depression, all of which include dopamine-related pathologies. They hope this will shed light on how bodily signaling shapes the perception of rewarding stimuli and context.

The neural correlates of aesthetic chills resemble a pattern of activity associated with feelings of euphoria in psychopharmacological research. Neurons from the ventral tegmental area project to the hippocampus correlating with deactivation of the amygdala, orbit, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex while experiencing a euphoric sensation.

The researchers say they hope the results of this study will lead to a better understanding of the emotional and physiological mechanisms behind aesthetic chills and their potential use in a clinical setting. By digging deeper into the effects of cold-inducing stimuli, new studies could help identify and develop therapies for people with dopamine disorders.

About this neuroscience research news

Author: Press office
Source: Neuroscience News
Contact: Press Office – Neuroscience News
Picture: Image is in public domain

Original research: Free access.
“Aesthetic chills cause emotional drift in valence and arousal” by Pattie Maes et al. Frontiers in Neuroscience


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Aesthetic chills cause emotional drift of valence and arousal

Aesthetic chills are an embodied peak emotional experience induced by stimuli such as music, movies, and speech and characterized by dopaminergic release.

The emotional consequences of chills in terms of valence and arousal are still debated and the existing empirical data is conflicting. In this study, we tested the effects of ChillsDB, an open source repository of chills-inducing stimuli, on the emotional ratings of over 600 participants.

We found that participants who experienced chills reported significantly more positive valence and greater arousal during the experiment, compared to participants who did not experience chills. This suggests that the embodied experience of shivers can influence perception and affective appraisal of context, supporting theoretical models emphasizing the role of interoceptive cues such as shivers in the perception and decision-making process. .

We also found an interesting trend in participants’ valence ratings, which tended to level off toward a similar mean after the experiment, although initially disparately distributed.

We discuss the significance of these findings for the diagnosis and treatment of dopaminergic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and depression.

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