Why Music Gives You The Chills
The term ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is used to refer to a self-diagnosed condition in which tingles radiate downward from the top of the head through the neck, spine, and limbs, accompanied by feelings of euphoria, in response to various sensory triggers, from whispered speech to tapping sounds to simply watching a person do something efficiently. Many of the triggers involve somebody playing close attention — to a task, to you, to a task involving you — which gave rise to early stabs at a name for the phenomenon like AIHO (Attention Induced Head Orgasm) or AIE (Attention Induced Euphoria). Discovering its existence told me that no, not everyone experiences what I do, but yes, plenty of people do. And they like to talk about it — as they’ve done here, here, here, and here, among other places. They have a dot-org and a Reddit community.
What they’re describing reminds me an awful lot of the sensation I experienced recently, walking down 7th Avenue in Manhattan to get lunch at Panera Bread, when suddenly the TV on the Radio song I was listening to on my iPod made me feel like my nerves had suddenly been switched to “sparkle”: