More threads by J.A.R.


I have wanted to find information on a psychological phenomenon that I have only observed in my own family. We call it ?the chills? Its manifestions are:

  • A general, intensely pleasureable, feeling of reverie/mesmerization
  • Intensely pleasureable horripilation/ piloerection on the head
  • A feeling of instant drowsiness that vanishes once the stimulus ceases
I have read about this sensation in response to intensely emotional and beautiful music. Also, in response to conversations with people where unlooked for positive emotional, experiential, or even seemingly paranormal correspondences. Like, when you talk to someone in a strange place and that you?ve never met before and find out they grew up in the same neighborhood or something like that. Though not really the drowsiness.

Anyhow, this phenomenon that I have my mother, sister, and father all seem to have experienced (though mostly my mother and I) comes in response into the strangest and most unexpected stimuli. Here are some examples:

  • Sales pitches : Only with certain people I have had try to get me to buy something or take part in and even when I have no interest whatsoever in purchasing the items the salesman is talking about.
  • Certain lectures by teachers I had in grammar school: Even when it was something math which I always hate studying ? plus it was only like one specific teacher, and one specific substitute teacher.
  • Some barbers/hairstylists: Recently I have been get my hair cut in a barber shop and one the barbers there, via the feeling of the way he cuts my hair
  • Yoga instructors: One of my friends is a male yoga instructor who got me started taking yoga classes. He does not elicit this response, but two other female yoga instructors do. The ?chills? stop, though when I begin doing the yoga postures ? like they can only occur when in a vegetative state. Likewise, in these other examples, if I am asked a question that requires more than a ?yeah? or ?no? the chills stop.
  • Gary Null (A pop-nutrition/diet luminary): Even though I have not purchased any of his books or dvds or put any of his nutritional advice into practice. Its just something about the way he talks about various foods and methods of preparing them. I?ve just seen him on PBS.
I have talked with friends and none of them know what I am talking about. Do anyone know what this is?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I can't say I know what this is exactly. I have at times experienced sort of a "shiver down my back", most commonly with music or with a scene in a movie that particularly touches me emotionally in some way.


Yes! I know exactly the feeling you're describing. I've experienced it in response to a specific note in music; particularly, a perfectly sung vocal note. I've also experienced this feeling at the sound of someone's voice, if the voice is pitched just right. As David said, certain scenes in movies, or passages in books can elicit this feeling.

You're not alone with this phenomenon, J.A.R. Be thankful for it, as I am. There's no feeling quite like it, eh? :)
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