27. July 2015

Moved to Chills

Zu Gänsehaut gerührt.

It is not unusual to experience strong emotions when watching moving film scenes. The emotions can in fact become so intense that a thermoregulatory response – piloerection, chills or goose bumps – can be triggered by the body. Since this response is not caused by variation in temperature, it is called "emotional piloerection". But which specific emotion underlies this peculiar response? And are all emotions equally likely to elicit such a response? In the present study, we used sad and joyful movie clips to elicit emotional chills. The ratings we obtained show that being moved was more strongly associated with chills than pure sadness or pure joy. Furthermore, being moved was revealed as the crucial factor for us to take pleasure in watching moving film scenes.

Original publication:

Wassiliwizky, E., Wagner, V., Jacobsen, T., & Menninghaus, W. (2015). Art-Elicited Chills Indicate States of Being Moved. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publicationdoi:10.1037/aca0000023


Eugen Wassiliwizky

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main 
+49 69 8300479-114