"Skin orgasms": scientists figure out why good music is as pleasurable as sex
We've all experienced getting goosebumps when a particularly beautiful song comes on, but some people can have a much stronger reaction that almost resembles an orgasm. To figure out why this is, psychologist Psyche Loui began studying the phenomenon of "skin organisms" (what she calls "frisson") at Wesleyan University.
In her studies, she asked subjects to listen to songs and pick out the parts that caused them these strong pleasurable reactions. "Sudden changes in harmony, dynamic leaps (from soft to loud), and melodic appoggiaturas (dissonant notes that clash with the main melody, like you’ll find in Adele’s Someone Like You) seem to be particularly powerful," writes BBC.
Here's a playlist by the BBC of some of the songs Loui found to be most potent:
Facts About Music And the brain:
We love it when songs violate our expectations, as long as they don't do it too much. When an expectation of a melody is violated, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.
This sensation becomes even more pronounced when it's a song we know well -- we've conditioned ourselves to feel that response to it over time.
Making music and dancing with others promotes group cohesion and altruism.