The Scientific Explanation For Your Sudden Chills

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Can we just say that getting the chills is super weird? They're like little spasms and they can totally come out of nowhere. But believe it or not, they do actually serve a helpful biological purpose. Here's what's really going on.
In all cases, the chills are a result of your muscles quickly contracting and relaxing. This kind of shivering is one trick that your body has to keep you warm if you're stuck in the cold, explains LiveScience. If you have a fever, you might also have the chills because your body is trying to raise your core temperature, making you feel like your normal temperature is actually too cold.
But we can also get the chills when we're not sick or cold — we get them when we get feels. I'm talking about that one perfect point on your car ride home with Adele blasting, or a particularly pensive moment looking at art in a museum. There's no physical need to warm yourself up in these scenarios, so what's going on?
The technical term for this sensation, which often comes with goosebumps, is the French word "frisson," which means "aesthetic chills," according to The Conversation. Some simply call these chills "skin orgasms." Although most of the research looking at the phenomenon has been done with music, people also report feeling it while looking at works of art, watching poignant movies, and listening to moving speeches.
Researchers are still figuring out why we get them and why some people never get them. So far they've found that your personality has a lot to do with it: Those of us who measure as being more open to new experiences are more likely to experience skin orgasms than those who aren't so excited to try new things. And other research has found that those who rate highly on that adventurous trait are also likely to allow themselves to be especially emotionally connected to and immersed in music they're listening to, which would make aesthetic chills more likely. Beyond that, experts are still figuring it out.
So there's your excuse to re-listen to Beyoncé's performance at the Grammys about a thousand more times — it's for research!

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