The Chill Parameter: Goose Bumps and Shivers as Promising Measures in Emotion Research

  • Grewe O
  • Kopiez R
  • Altenmüller E
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Abstract

Strong emotional feelings seem to include physiological and motor responses, as well as the cognitive appraisal of a stimulus (Scherer, 2004). Individuals may thus reach emotional peaks at different points in time. "Chills" (goose bumps or shivers) offer useful indications of individual emotional peaks (Panksepp, 1995). Reported chills of 95 participants in response to seven music pieces are presented. Subjective intensity as well as physiological arousal-Skin Conductance Response (SCR) and Heart Rate (HR)-revealed peaks during chill episodes. A possible influence of breathing was excluded. Familiarity with the music had a significant impact on chills. Age, gender, and music education showed no influence on chill frequency. In an exploratory approach, the influence of active music listening (i.e., singing along, lip syncing, etc.) could not be confirmed. These results suggest that chills are a reliable parameter, synchronizing subjective feeling with the physiological arousal component, without being influenced by motor responses. © 2009 By the Regents of the University of California.

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Authors

  • Oliver Grewe

  • Reinhard Kopiez

  • Eckart Altenmüller

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