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Physiological and Musico-Acoustic Correlates of the Chill Response

Martin Guhn, Alfons Hamm and Marcel Zentner
Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Vol. 24, No. 5 (June 2007), pp. 473-484
DOI: 10.1525/mp.2007.24.5.473
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/mp.2007.24.5.473
Page Count: 12
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Physiological and Musico-Acoustic Correlates of the Chill Response
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Abstract

LISTENING TO MUSIC OFTEN EVOKES affective states that are accompanied by distinctive subjective experiences and specific physiological changes. In this study, we examined the phenomenon of chills and its concomitant physiological reactions. In a preliminary study, experimenter-selected music excerpts were played to 27 participants, and musical passages especially apt toelicit chill experiences were identified on the basis of subjective ratings. In a subsequent study with 27 new participants, subjective chill experiences and physiological responses were recorded in real time. The highest numbers of chills were experienced during musical passages characterized by similar dynamic, harmonic, and structural characteristics, which coincided with distinct patterns of heart rate and skin conductance increases. For participants experiencing a chill during these passages, increases in skin conductance were significantly larger than for participants without chills. The heart rate response did not differ between groups.

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