Scientists Develop Model to Predict When You’ll Get the Chills from Beautiful Art

Have you ever felt shivers down your spine or goosebumps while listening to a hauntingly beautiful piece of music or watching an emotionally stirring film? Researchers have now developed a model that can predict with over 73% accuracy when someone will experience these aesthetic chills.

The study, conducted by Felix Schoeller and colleagues, surveyed 2,937 people from Southern California through an online platform. They gathered data on the participants’ personalities, demographic backgrounds, and emotional states. The researchers then exposed the survey respondents to 40 emotion-evoking audiovisual clips sourced from social media, which had previously elicited aesthetic chills in commenters.

The clips included a diverse range of stimuli, such as choral performances, a commencement speech by a minister, readings of poems, pop songs by Radiohead and Sigur Rós, and scenes from the films Hunger Games and Everything Everywhere All At Once, among others.

Using this data, the researchers built a model that identified demographic, psychological, and contextual factors that predicted whether a person would experience aesthetic chills while watching or listening to a particular clip.

The study found that people who reported being alert and in a good mood were more likely to feel chills than those who were tired or in a bad mood. Other factors that correlated with a high probability of experiencing chills included being between 35–44 years old, being male, being a Democrat, and having a graduate degree.

Psychological characteristics such as extraversion and conscientiousness were also predictive of experiencing chills, as were high scores on specialized psychological scales that measure a person’s propensity to be emotionally moved and absorbed in the moment.

According to the authors, additional research into how emotional experiences are shaped by psychological, demographic, and cultural variables could eventually inform the use of aesthetic chills as a non-pharmaceutical treatment for affective disorders such as depression.

As the world continues to grapple with mental health challenges, this study opens up new avenues for understanding and harnessing the power of art and beauty to positively impact our emotional well-being.

Examples of goosebump-inducing stimuli are available at the project website: http://chillsdb.com.

#AestheticChills #EmotionalExperience #ArtandScience #MentalHealth

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