Goosebumps could be a sign of a high-achieving and healthy life, study finds

Sabrina Barr

Have you ever been to a live music gig that was so moving that your skin became covered in tingling goosebumps?

If so, it could be sign that you’re likely to live a high-achieving, healthy and happy life.

Over the summer, a study was conducted at Reading and Leeds music festivals to explore whether experiencing goosebumps can correlate with the state of a person’s health and their personality.

The research team discovered that those who experienced goosebumps are more likely to foster stronger relationships with others, to achieve more higher-level academic feats throughout their lives and to be in better health than those who didn’t.

The Barclaycard study, which was led by Harvard University researcher Matthew Sachs and University of Oxford professor Robin Murphy, assessed the responses of 100 people who were watching a live music performance while wearing a monitoring device.

The researchers analysed the participants’ physiological responses to the music, while also carrying out a series of psychometric tests to determine what experiencing a “goosebump moment” says about an individual.

The study concluded that 55 per cent of Brits are likely to get goosebumps while watching a live performance, with goosebumps most likely to occur within the first minute.

Women are more likely to exhibit an emotional response to live music, with 55 per cent of the female participants experiencing goosebumps in comparison to 46 per cent of the men.

According to the researchers’ findings, those who had goosebumps at least once during the festival were more likely to describe themselves as “empathetic” and “agreeable” in relationships.

Furthermore, the individuals who noticed those familiar prickly bumps appearing on their skin were also more likely to state that they were in a positive mood and that their overall physical wellbeing was in tip-top shape.

66 per cent of those who had goosebumps during the live music performances said that they were in a more positive mood, in comparison to 46 per cent of their goosebump-free counterparts.

On top of that, those who felt shivers while taking in the music were 43 per cent more likely than those who didn’t to have a university degree qualification or above.

Robin Murphy, researcher at Oxford University, explains how the study gave the research team the opportunity to explore the “phenomenon of goosebumps” in fine detail.

“The results of the Barclaycard study are the first to show the different personality traits that characterise people who experience goosebumps,” he says.

“The evidence also suggests that being truly connected with live entertainment and getting goosebumps has an impact on our overall sense of wellbeing and mood."