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Psychologists have studied what’s happening when music gives us chills or makes us cry

02 May 2017

Emotions can be fleeting and superficial, for example imagine the split-second of anger you experience after missing the bus.

But other “peak emotional states” are more powerful and they are accompanied by intense physical reactions, such as crying or “the chills”. Often these physical manifestations accompany extreme fear or sadness, but they can also occur when we admire a magnificent sunset or enjoy a beautiful piece of music.

Now a study published in Scientific Reports by Kazuma Mori and Makoto Iwanaga has taken a closer look at the contrasting psychology and physiology underlying the chills and tears many of us experience when we’re profoundly moved by a song.

Read more from guest blogger Helge Hasselmann on our Research Digest blog.


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