Chills (goose bumps or shivers) evoked by listening to one’s favorite music are an indicator of a rewarding experience. The current study examined the relationship between individual differences in general reward sensitivity and music-evoked chills. To assess this relationship, we measured the three subscales of the behavioral activation system (BAS) and the frequency and intensity of music-evoked chills in a large-sample survey (Study 1) and a psychophysiological experiment (Study 2). One result observed in both studies was that people with high BAS reward responsiveness experienced more intense chills from music. Moreover, the results showed that the experience of chills induced highly pleasurable emotions and psychophysiological arousal. The present study suggests that general reward sensitivity is a predictor of music-evoked chills. Although music is just a sequence of tones and not clearly related to survival value, music could create a rewarding experience partially similar to other rewarding actions or events.
- Received December 17, 2013.
- Accepted October 4, 2014.
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