Musical Piloerection

Michael Nilsson, Rickard Åström, Töres Theorell, Bo von Schéele, Michael Nilsson

Abstract


Piloerection (from the Latin pilus for hair) is a skin response which can be observed at many occasions among various species as a reaction to fear, aggression, or coldness. It is also a human response to music and in these cases a highly pleasurable one. Not everyone experiences it, and it is particularly difficult to evoke the reaction in experimental settings. We accidentally happened to catch a spontaneous distinct reaction with finger temperature, skin conductance, heart rate, and respiration. This allows us to study how these emotion correlates online with the music—the dynamics of the event. From this and recent articles, we discuss suggestions of how music causes piloerection.


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by The International Association for Music & Medicine