Goosebumps and music
By C J Sommerfeld, Contributor
Have you ever gotten goosebumps from listening to a good song?
According to an article posted on CBC, this phenomenon transcends further than you might think. The website has reiterated a study published in the academic journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, which has found that those who get goosebumps when listening to a good song have “higher white matter connectivity…between parts of their brain that process sensory information [the auditory cortex] and the parts of the brain that are in control of emotional processing [the amygdala].”
Now what is this white matter? Essentially, white matter is just tissue consisting of nerve fibers in our brains. The amount of this stuff that a person has correlates with the speed of information processing and IQ. This means that those who get goosebumps when listening to a good song, or when they hear the theme song to their favorite childhood TV show, have higher IQs than those of us who do not, according to the study. Those goosebumps are a signifier in how smart an individual is; these people may very well be smarter than the rest of us.
Does this mean that if we increase this stuff we can increase our levels of intelligence? The answer, according to the study, is yes! And how exactly do we do this? An article titled “These 10 Things Literally Increase the Size of Your Brain” notes a list of simple things which we can very easily add into our everyday lives to do so; practice some yoga, play an instrument, exercise, read—it is as easy as that.
So if we increase our levels of intellect through introducing these things into our lives, we similarly are increasing our receptivity to music acting as medicine. The notion that music is medicinal has been known for a long time; however, these studies show that the music in our environments are social determinants in our health that we have the ability to manipulate. Perhaps instead of relying on the ways in which we are conditioned to heal ourselves in the westernized world, we can instead saturate our environments with good music? I can’t say for sure, but it’s easy enough to try for yourself!