“Thrills I get when you hold me close”…a glimpse into musical emotions

In the early 1957 the young Paul Anka sang about “thrills” in the song “Diana“. Many researchers consider thrills as musical emotions…are they really that?

Goldstein (1980) thought they are, and they they were elicited more by happy than sad music.

They can be considered as “slight shudder, chill, or tingling sensations“, and as psychophysiological responses especially induced by music (Krumhansl, 1997).

To date, thrills can be considered as musical emotions (Harrison & Loui, 2014), even though they need to be distinguished from other closer phenomena such as chills or frissons.

When do you feel thrills?

I felt them yesterday….and yes, it was during singing one of my favorite songs…



Sweet Sadness..How Many Nuances of Sadness exist?

Feeling sad encompasses many facets and is due to different situations.

We feel sad for ourselves when we loose someone we love. Se are sad when we fail to achieve relevant goals (Shirai & Suzuki, 2017). Finally, Sadness is mixed with other emotions and can give rise to a deep feeling of pleasure (Sachs, Damasio, & Habibi, 2015)

This is the case of sad music….

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Embarrassing! What happens to your body when all eyes are on you?

It the second time you meet a person and your approach is like this:

You: “Hello John, nice to see you again!”

The Other: “I hope it will be a pleasure even to meet me, I am Carl…”

First, your heart rate flies high, and suddenly, it slows down, but blood pressure continues to rise (Harris, 2001). Your right pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) activates simultaneously (Sturm et al., 2012). “This area is a ventral subregion of ACC (i.e. Brodmann areas 24a–c, 25, 32 and 33) that coordinates the autonomic, visceromotor and endocrine system activity that accompany emotion” (Sturm et al., 2012, introduction). You avoid smiling and gazing at your “fault”, feel the urge to touch your face, and you flush (Shearne et al., 1990; Keltner, 1995).


This is Embarrassment! A self-conscious emotion. That is, your Self is at the center of the stage….

What is its function? We feel embarrassed when we fail to meet relevant social expectations. But, no matter!! Embarrassment is also humorous…so “social errors” can be easier to digest 🙂

You: “Hello John, nice to see you again!”

The Other: “I hope it will be a pleasure even to meet me, I am Carl…”

You: “Of course! Yes, I like you too Carl!”