Having chills may be linked to a personality trait

Chills are a type of sensation in which you notice as if an electric current has been born in the neck or upper back. and would cross the entire spine and skull to eventually merge with the rest of the body.

While his description appears to be a process that contains a bit of violence, the truth is that chills often lead us to a state of well-being and calm that is often accompanied by the appearance of goosebumps.

Chills and personality

What causes chills? Lots of things, however, especially situations that have to do with the aesthetic appreciation of an image, sound, or idea.

However, some research indicates that the chills are more than just being at the right time and in the right place. Their appearance and frequency could be related to the personality type of the person experiencing them. In fact, a study recently published in Psychology of Music found a link between the chills of listening to music and a personality dimension related to the personality trait of openness to the experience.


In this research, we studied the case of a hundred students who were given the listening of the same recording, which contained five pieces of music potentially generating chills of varying intensity. Whether or not chills were onset was measured by placing electrical sensors on the participants’ skin and asking them to press a button the moment they noticed a chill.

In addition, members of the participant group also completed personality questionnaires which included items measuring the top 5 personality traits: Extraversion, openness to experience, neuroticism, responsibility and kindness.

By crossing the data obtained from the personality tests and the stage at which the chills were measured, the researchers then observed what interactions occurred between the personalities of the volunteers and these pleasant sensations produced by listening to the music.

The results

As expected (judging from the results in similar studies conducted previously), the frequency with which the chills were shown correlated with the score of openness to the experiment.

But the most curious of the results was that among the indicators used to give a score and openness to the experience, there was a facet of it that reflected the correlation particularly well. It is a factor called Fantasy, that is to say the tendency to pay attention to subjective experiences imagined by oneself.

How are these results explained?

While the onset of chills seems somewhat innocuous, this study (added to several others by style) shows that the degree to which they appear gives clues to the type of personality you have, at least the ones generated when music is heard.

Does this make sense? In fact, yes. Among others, chills are a symptom of how you experience the times when you listen to music, And provide information on how to react to certain stimuli.

In turn, these reactions can be modulated by the person’s most predominant personality traits. In fact, not all people are capable of having chills, and some are more likely to have particularly intense chills – these are not automatic, stereotypical responses that are predictably activated in us. Personal characteristics play a role.

Specifically, the Openness to Experience feature and the Fantasy facet measure how stimulating and immersive situations are experienced that direct all attention to stimuli related to strong emotional activation or a sense of satisfaction.

So you know. Chills aren’t just nice – they say things about you too.

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