Tag Archives: frisson

Musical Frisson: The Science Behind Musical Arousal

Wesleyan University psychologist Psyche Loui and her student Luke Harrison set out to explain the phenomenon of “skin orgasms,” or frisson, in music listeners and musicians. One 1991 study found that about half of professional musicians and nonmusicians experienced shivers down the spine, trembling, flushing and sweating, and even sexual arousal in response to favorite pieces of music. The phenomenon, which also explains the altruism and cohesion that develops between individuals who make music together, is described in a BBC article by David Robson.