THE more open-minded your personality the more likely you are to get the "chills" when listening to music.

That's according to new research from psychologists at the Eastern Washington University in the US.

Graduate student Mitchell Colver and Prof. Amani El-Alayli tested the personalities of a hundred students against five specific aspects - openness, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness - and then had them listen to five pieces of music.

To measure the response they used a "galvanic skin response" test, alongside testimony from the subjects themselves to see what "emotional frisson" or "pleasurable aesthetic chills" were elicited.

They found that those experiencing the most chills had scored highly in the "Openness to Experience" section, as well as five of its six subfacets: Fantasy, Aesthetics, Feelings, Ideas, and Values. The team also concluded that cognitive attentiveness also might be a factor.

According to Colver, excitement junkies find it more difficult to get the chills. "Some research has shown that more adventurous individuals may even be less likely to experience frisson because they have a higher threshold for what will blow wind up their skirt. They have to jump out of a plane to feel alive, rather than simply listening to a Beethoven sonata". 

Previous research has found that around 50 per cent of people get the "music tingles" and they are induced by an intense dopamine release in the part of the brain activated by reward, sex and addiction. So it seems that the term "skin orgasms" is actually quite appropriate.

Research also suggests the reaction is brought on as much by the anticipation of the next musical note as the note itself. This relates to the understanding that when we listen to music the brain often predicts what is coming next.