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Why Does Music Give You Chills?

When your playlist strikes all the right chords, your body can go on a physiological joyride. Your heart rate increases, your pupils dilate, your body temperature rises, blood redirects to your legs, your cerebellum—mission control for body movement—becomes more active, your brain flushes with dopamine, and a tingly chill whisks down your back. About 50% of people get chills when listening to music. Research shows that’s because music stimulates an ancient reward pathway in the brain, encouraging dopamine to flood the part of the brain activated by addiction, reward, and motivation. Music, it seems, may affect our brains the same way pleasurable things like ice cream do. So, the next time you’re tempted to shove a spoon into a pint of Ben & Jerry's, just throw on your headphones and listen to your favorite tunes instead.