In meditation, we encounter a huge range of emotional experience. Each wants to be noticed, embraced, witnessed, learned from, and sometimes transmuted. Sometimes we are perceiving an emotion from the past that we did not have time to fully assimilate. Sometimes we are perceiving an emotion in the present that is part of our richness of experience. Sometimes we are planning on coping with the future and feeling emotions that go with that.

All human experience is ours to feel, and the full range – from the most expressive to the most subtle savoring of experience and beyond. We may go from remembering rough or strong torrents of emotion in one moment, to experiencing sublime, minute, and yet powerful emotions in the next moment. The full range.

Frisson (pronounced free-SOH) is a french word for "shiver." Frisson is used to refer to a strong emotional response accompanied by goosebumps or tingling or shivering – such as that experienced in response to beautiful music. "Spine-tingling chills." Research on the emotions and physiology produced by listening to music indicate that during frisson, the skin of the lower back flexes, and shivers rise upward and inward from the shoulders, up the neck, and may extend to the cheeks and scalp. The face may become flush, the hair stands on end (piloerection) and this may occur in a series of "waves" moving up the back in rapid succession. The whole experience may last 4 seconds, and yet we cherish it deeply.

In meditation, we are feeling and listening to and savoring the subtle music of life, and many quiet feelings akin to frisson come and go quietly.

In addition to noticing emotions you missed, or did not fully appreciate in the past, you may experience emotions during meditation that go with the inner marriages and relationships you are cultivating. Your inner lover, warrior, priestess or priest, yogi, sage, healer, magician, may be partying, conversing with each other, healing and strengthening their relationships. Your chakras may be having a party, or a fight. A scared little girl or boy inside may finally feel safe enough to come forward and share with you what they are feeling. A whole world of internally sourced emotions may arise to be felt –– sometimes for a second or a few moments, sometimes for days or longer.

Our first job is to welcome all experience and learn from it.

Figure that approximately half of most people's meditation time is spent in reviewing and savoring emotions, and this is a good thing, appropriate. This is only a rough idea, it will vary every day and every moment for each individual.


1. A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, and anger.
2. Such mental states or the qualities that are associated with them, especially in contrast to reason: a decision based on emotion rather than logic.
[French émotion, from Old French, from esmovoir, to excite, from Vulgar Latin *exmovēre : Latin ex-, ex- + Latin movēre, to move; see meuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]


The Encounter - Bill Viola

Watch INSIDE OUT by the geniuses at Pixar / Disney. Here are some clips.

The whole movie is great, just brilliant.


emotions infrared

emotions chart

This is the Plutchik Wheel of Emotions


rasa essence taste of drama bark

rasa mandala

As a form of play, you might go through the Sutras and identify a major emotion or rasa that goes with the above

Joy - 16
Devotion - 98
Friendly love - 48 and 51
Mirth and laughter - 43
Shocked - 67
Fear - 107
Fury - 78
Betrayal - 70
Enthusiasm - 50
Serenity - 109
Awe and Wonder - 79

motion of emotion

From an article in New York Magazine by Melissa Dahl, 10 Extremely Precise Words for Emotions You Didn’t Even Know You Had


" . . . a team of psychologists published a study in which they claimed that they had found neural correlates for nine very distinct human emotions: anger, disgust, envy, fear, happiness, lust, pride, sadness, and shame."

Amae: To be an adult, particularly in a nation like the United States, is to be self-sufficient. Yet there is something very nice, in an indulgent kind of way, about letting someone else handle things for you every once in a while. The Japanese word amae, as Smith defines it, means “leaning on another person’s goodwill,” a feeling of deep trust that allows a relationship — with your partner, with your parent, even with yourself — to flourish. Or, as the Japanese psychoanalyst Takeo Doi has put it, it’s “an emotion that takes the other person’s love for granted.” It’s a childish kind of love, in other words, as evidenced by an alternate translation of the word: “behaving like a spoiled child.”

L’appel du vide: You’re waiting for the train when an inexplicable thought flashes into your mind: What if you jumped off the platform? Or perhaps you’re driving up some precarious mountain pass, when you feel strangely moved to jerk your steering wheel to the right and sail clear off the road. American psychologists in 2012 published a paper in which this feeling was dubbed the “high place phenomenon” (and their study suggested, by the way, that its presence does not necessarily signal suicidal ideation), but the French term for the phenomenon is much more alluring, as French words so often are: l’appel du vide, or “the call of the void.” As the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once observed, the emotion is so unsettling because of the way it “creates an unnerving, shaky sensation of not being able to trust one’s own instincts.” It’s a reminder, then, to perhaps not always let your emotions rule your behavior.

Awumbuk: It’s a funny thing about house guests. While they’re in your home and you’re tripping over the extra shoes and suitcases that are suddenly littered about your living room, you start dreaming about how nice it will be when they leave. Yet, after they do, your place often feels too empty. To the Baining people of Papua New Guinea, Smith writes, this feeling is so prevalent that it gets a name all to itself: awumbuk, or the feeling of “emptiness after visitors depart.” There is, luckily, a way of ridding the home of this rather melancholy feeling: Smith writes that “once their guests have left, the Baining fill a bowl with water and leave it overnight to absorb the festering air. The next day, the family rises very early and ceremonially flings the water into the trees, whereupon ordinary life resumes.” That’s one way to do it.

Brabant: In 1984, author Douglas Adams and TV comedy producer John Lloyd paired up to publish a book called The Deeper Meaning of Liff: A Dictionary of Things There Aren’t Any Words for Yet–But There Ought to Be. Smith apparently agreed with these two on at least this: that there should be a word for the fun of pushing someone’s buttons, to see how much you can tease them until they snap. Adams and Lloyd defined the word as the feeling you get when you are “very much inclined to see how far you can push someone.” (To my mind, an alternate definition might be “having a younger brother or younger sister.”)

Depaysement: People do some out-of-character things in foreign countries. They strike up conversations with strangers in bars, even if they would never do the same back home. They wear unflattering hats. There’s something about being a stranger in a strange land that’s equal parts exhilarating and disorienting, and this messy mix of feelings is what the French word depaysement — literally, decountrification, or being without a country — means to capture. It’s “the feeling of being an outsider,” and though getting lost because you can’t quite read the street signs as well as you maybe thought you could can be unsettling, the feeling of being somewhere else just as often “swirls us up into a kind of giddiness, only ever felt when far away from home.”

Ilinx: There exists a GIF of a fluffy white cat that speaks directly to my soul. In it, the cat is perched atop a desk, and as its human places various objects near its paws — a lighter, a glasses case, a wallet — it pushes each item off the desk and onto the floor. You might say the animal is expressing ilinx, a French word for “the ‘strange excitement’ of wanton destruction,” as Smith describes it, borrowing her phrasing from sociologist Roger Caillois. “Callois traced ilinx back to the practices of ancient mystics who by whirling and dancing hoped to induce rapturous trance states and glimpse alternative realities,” Smith writes. “Today, even succumbing to the urge to create a minor chaos by kicking over the office recycling bin should give you a mild hit.”

Kaukokaipuu: People of, say, Irish descent who have never actually been to the country of their ancestry may still experience an unexpected ache for it, as if they miss it — a strange, contradictory sort of feeling, as you can’t really miss someplace you’ve never been. But the Finnish recognize that the emotion exists, and they gave it a name: kaukokaipuu, a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never visited. It can also mean a kind of highly specified version of wanderlust, a “craving for a distant land” — dreaming from your desk about some far-off place like New Zealand, or the Hawaiian Islands, or Machu Picchu, with an intensity that feels almost like homesickness.

Malu: You’d like to think you are a person of average conversational and social skills, and yet this all evaporates the moment you find yourself sharing an elevator with the CEO of your company. The Dusun Baguk people of Indonesia know how you feel. Specifically, Smith writes that they would call this feeling malu, “the sudden experience of feeling constricted, inferior and awkward around people of higher status.” Instead of this being something to be embarrassed about, however, Smith’s research has shown that in this particular culture it’s considered an entirely appropriate response; it’s even a sign of good manners. Something to remember the next time your mind goes blank when your boss asks you a question: You are only being polite.

Pronoia: At one point in J.D. Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, Seymour Glass muses about himself, “Oh, God, if I’m anything by a clinical name, I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” About three decades later, sociologist Fred Goldner came up with a name for this: pronoia, the opposite of paranoia. Instead of the fear that you are at the center of some diabolical lot, pronoia, as Smith describes it, is the “strange, creeping feeling that everyone’s out to help you.” And, hey, just because you’re pronoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to help you.

Torschlusspanik: Life is passing you by. The deadline’s approaching. The train’s a-comin’. Literally translated from German, torschlusspanik means “gate-closing panic,” a word to summarize that fretful sensation of time running out. It may serve you well, when experiencing this panicky emotion, to hesitate before allowing it to spur you toward impulsivity, and call to mind the German idiom Torschlusspanik ist ein schlechter Ratgeber — that is, “Torschlusspanik is a bad adviser.”

Here is a study in which, "Method actors were asked to self-induce nine emotional states (anger, disgust, envy, fear, happiness, lust, pride, sadness, and shame) while in an fMRI scanner."

LA Yoga May 2012 Practice pages: meditation
The Marriage of Passion and Peace
A meditation on lust, anger, bewilderment, and intoxication
from The Radiance Sutras, a new version of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra By Dr. Lorin Roche

She drives you wild, out of your mind. You are crazy over him. She cast her spell over you. You’re thinking with the brain in your pants, not the one in your head. There you are, talking to someone, when suddenly a sweet erotic tingle begins taking over your attention. Or an obstacle appears and you are mad, aflame with anger. Your blood boils, you want to blow your top. A conversation goes south and your mind is swirls with confusion. Now you are missing your loved one, with a palpable tug of yearning on your heart. You don’t know WTF is going on, but you know you have chakras, because they are spinning.

We have an app for that, says Shiva. Welcome to the Yoga of Passion. Game on.

Desire, lust, longing –
Anger humming in your blood.
Confusion, jealousy, bewilderment,
Swirling in your head.

Catch the first hint as passion rises,
The first quickening heartbeat.
Embrace that vibrancy
With a mind vast as the sky.

Witness the elemental motion of emotion –
Fire burning, illuminating,
Water gushing, cleansing,
Air inspiring, soothing,
Earth supporting, holding,
Space expanding, embracing.

Go deeper still and rest in essence, 
Awake to infinite spiritual energy 
Surging into form.

kāmakrodhalobhamohamadamātsaryagocare |
buddhiṃ nistimitāṃ kṛtvā tat tattvam avaśiṣyate || 101 ||

kama - wish, desire, longing, love, affection, pleasure, enjoyment, sexual love, sensuality, The God of Love (the god who grants all desires), a stake in gambling, a species of mango tree, a kind of temple.
krodha - anger, wrath, passion, a name of the mystic syllable hum or hrum, the name of a sruti in music.

lobha - perplexity, confusion, impatience, eager desire for or longing after, covetousness, cupidity, avarice, greed.

moha - loss of consciousness, bewilderment, perplexity, distraction, infatuation, delusion, error, folly, fainting, stupefaction, a swoon, darkness or delusion of mind, a magical art employed to bewilder an enemy, wonder, amazement.

mada - hilarity, rapture, excitement, inspiration, intoxication, ardent passion for.

mātsarya - envy, jealousy, displeasure, dissatisfaction.

gochare - pasture ground for cattle, range, field for action, abode, dwelling-place, district, offering range or field or scope for action, within range of, accessible, attainable, within the power, the range of the organs of sense, anything perceptible by the senses.

buddhi - the power of forming and retaining conceptions and general notions, intelligence, reason, intellect, mind, discernment, judgment; perception - of which 5 kinds are enumerated, comprehension, apprehension, understanding, presence of mind, ready wit, an opinion, view, idea, conjecture, thought about or meditation on, intention.

nistimitām - motionless, without agitation.

kritva - having done this.
tattva - true or real state, reality, element or elementary property, essence of substance of anything.

avashishyate - remains.

The Sanskrit here is amazingly condensed. This one word, kama, represents desire, love, sex and sensuality in all forms. Kama also hints at that reckless gambling impulse, the urge to risk it all, to go for it, throw away the life you know and follow your heart. The verse rocks on from there. In sixteen syllables, the first line lists a whole range of passion and wildness, inviting us to notice whenever any of these become perceptible, come into the range of the organs of sensing.

The second line says, bring your ready wit, your best intentions. Call upon your intelligence. Use your mentality and wake up to the Great Reality.

Passions are activated when we care deeply, when we are committed, when we connect intimately with someone or something. Inside every passion is a blessing, an impulse of life evolving itself. Love is a force of connection; lust makes the hooking up of bodies feel sacred, delicious, delirious. Anger is a hum and hruumm of mighty power whose job is to blast through any obstacles in the way. The ache of longing calls us to meditate on whatever or whoever we are missing. Infatuation and wonder take us beyond our narrow scope and make us feel we are in the presence of something amazing. There is a rapture to hilarity and even intoxication that loosens the tight hold of everyday consciousness and makes us forget who we are, so we can discover ourselves anew.

Shiva gives 112 yoga practices (yuktis) in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, and this one is saying, use every bit of your skill in yoga to perceive the magic of passion. Use your appreciation of breath (prana), the centers along the spine (chakras), bring your awareness of the song of life (mantra), and savor your passion in the moment that it first becomes a tingle in your senses.

When we notice passion in its initial rising, in the first couple of heartbeats as the juice begins to flow, we have freedom in how to shape our expression. Lust, anger, greed, amazement, hilarity - we must choose a way to express these intense energies of life in a way that is appropriate, ethical, and beneficial to us and everyone around. If we do find it necessary to blow things up - leave that job or relationship, make dramatic changes in our life, we try to minimize the damage. This is intensely challenging. Yogic awareness raises the stakes – more is asked of us in terms of discernment. We can get slapped harder by karma when we make mistakes.

Lust is a life-giving, creative energy - without it, you wouldn’t be here; the human race would have died out long ago. Every surge of passion is created out of the divine Shakti in action, the energy of life that is sublime in its essence. In the intensity of desire, the fireworks of sex, wrath or intoxication, your inner world becomes a physics experiment, a Particle Accelerator, displaying the elements of life, so enjoy the show. In this yoga practice, find your deepest serenity, bring it to embrace and penetrate your wildest passion.This is the mating dance of life and consciousness.

practice pages: meditation by dr. Lorin Roche
Alert to Relationship
sutra 83 from The Radiance Sutras, a new version of the vijnana bhairava tantra

Lately I have been painfully aware that every relationship in my life calls for careful tending, and I am always blowing it. Not a huge amount, usually, but enough to be painful. It seems like I am either giving too much or too little to each person. At the end of the day, I have these little sensations in my body, tiny aches, that say, “You spent too much time and energy on that connection and not enough on the other one.” Equally demanding is the challenge of listening to each person, seeing things through their eyes and not losing my own perspective.

The number of people I relate to in a day has doubled in the last year, so I am having to learn a new level of the game. Meditation, pranayama (breath techniques) and asana (posture) help a lot – they tune my attention to make better choices about where to put my love and attention. Each person, each project, is saying, “Show me some love.” When I get it just right, the feeling is exquisite.

I am surprised at how much Yoga it takes to keep me well-tuned. Two forty-five-minute sessions: one in the morning, and one in the evening, are needed. I was kind of hoping that by now, after forty years of practice, my groove would be permanent. That I would be, you know, enlightened. But no, I need all the tools of Yoga, and I need to work them daily.

This is Sutra 83 of The Radiance Sutras, a dharana on relationship:

Everyone knows, there is me
And then there are all these others.
This is common to all.

Lovers know, there is me,
And the source of this me
Is ever mysterious.

Each contact with another
Is a spark of the Divine.
Lovers move through this world
Awake to intimacy,
Each touch a revelation
Never to be repeated.

grāhyagrāhakasaṃvittiḥ sāmānyā sarvadehinām |
yogināṃ tu viśeṣo ‘sti sambandhe sāvadhānatā ||

Looking in the Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary, we see some touchy-feely words, and some abstract ones:

grahya – that which is grasped, seized, objects; grahaka – the grasper, the seizer, subject; samvittih – awareness, consciousness; samanya – common, in common; sarva dehinam – in everyone; yoginam – yogis, those who practice yoga; visheshah - differentiation, distinction; asti – there is; sambandhe - with regards to relationships, connections, bonds; savadhanata – attentive, alert, mindful, heedful, careful.

If we wanted to make this verse sound really dry, we could say: “Object-subject consciousness is common to everyone. What is different about a yogi is attentiveness to this relationship.” That is the way my translation read for years, until I realized that this is a boring way to elucidate a very interesting topic.

The Sanskrit text uses dynamic physical terms – grahya and grahaka – that imply, “When we come into relationship, I am seizing you, grasping you, and you are grasping me.” The sutra seems to be saying, any relationship is a kind of embrace, whether we are physically touching or holding them in our heart. Yogis need to be aware at all times of the texture, the feeling tone of this touch. So be skillful, be alert to the magic of what you are creating.

Practicing Yoga, especially pranayama and meditation, heightens our awareness of the space between things. Currents of energy flow between the chakra (energy centers) in the body, and, startlingly, between our body and other bodies. Yoga amplifies the power of our attention, so that when we listen to someone, and look at them, there is more going on than we may otherwise be used to experiencing. A transmission of prana (life-force) is going back and forth. On the level of energy, it is as if we are touching them or holding them In Tantra, the attitude is that this contact of “me” and “the others” is sacred and powerful for everyone involved.

We all have many relationships – friends, family, co-workers, teammates, lovers. Each requires its own precise way of holding, has its own rules for what an embrace is. Each friend needs a different kind of greeting. Men need to be hugged differently than women. The hug you give a tearful child is very different from the hug you give your spouse. A hug held for a heartbeat too long can feel smothering. Turning away from an embrace too quickly can feel cold or dismissive. Great alertness is called for. Each bond, each connection, each relationship in our life requires the best we can bring, and each moment of contact is surprising. When I have noise in my head during meditation, I can always trace it back to some conversation that wants to be resolved or advanced to the next step. Once I get this, the mental chatter turns into a background hum, and then some version of OM, the song of life.

The Spielberg Face


If there is one recurring image that defines the cinema of Steven Spielberg, it is The Spielberg Face. Eyes open, staring in wordless wonder in a moment where time stands still. But above all, a child-like surrender in the act of watching, both theirs and ours.  It’s as if their total submission to what they are seeing mirrors our own.

The face tells us that a monumental event is happening; in doing so, it also tells us how we should feel. If Spielberg deserves to be called a master of audience manipulation, then this is his signature stroke. You can’t think of the most iconic moments in Spielberg’s cinema without The Spielberg Face.

Expressive close-ups of faces reacting to events offscreen. This is a common device in Hollywood filmmaking, perhaps due in part to Spielberg’s influence. Sometimes these shots even make explicit homage to his movies. This is not to say that Spielberg invented the technique.  The expressive close-up existed as early as the days of D.W. Griffith, and has long been a staple of both international and classical Hollywood filmmaking.
But it’s safe to say that none have come close applying this technique as prolifically throughout their filmmaking career as Spielberg has. He has used it in a variety of genres in any number of situations: sudden shock or creeping dread, the trauma of remembering the past or of confronting the future, discovering humanity in another person, or discovering humanity in oneself.
From the beginning, Spielberg seemed to understand the cinematic power of faces in punctuating key moments. But for the most part, these early attempts are conventional close-ups that fit into established practices for genre filmmaking: horror, suspense, drama, action.

The breakthrough came with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a film about humans discovering alien lifeforms, but is really about Spielberg discovering the full power of the face and grounding it in a personal ethos, the perpetual wonder of seeing things new. The film has no less than 30 shots that qualify as “Spielberg Faces” – nearly twice the number of any other Spielberg film. Even one of the alien ambassadors gets one. One could call it a symphony of Spielberg Faces, in which case the orchestra members couldn’t have been better chosen: expressive open-faced, actors like Melinda Dillon, Richard Dreyfuss, and Cary Guffey, a four year old boy who, in this scene gives the face that amounts to a career revelation, a look of childlike awe that would inspire dozens more over the decades. Spielberg is so in love with Guffey’s expression that in one scene he even uses it twice in one minute, coupled with another critical ingredient: the dolly shot. With its kinetic force, the dolly shot underscores the revelatory sensation experienced by those wearing the Spielberg Face. With the dolly, the trademark Spielberg close-up was now complete.

But with accumulated use in film after film, this expression became an all-too familiar cue both for the characters and the audience to feel wonderment. By the time we get to the Jurassic Park movies in the 1990s, the manipulative qualities of the Spielberg Face are fully apparent, utilized nearly every time we are expected to marvel at the film’s computer generated dinosaurs.  Nowadays, it seems you can’t have a spectacular special effects action sequence without a Spielberg face to cue you to be in awe.

The Spielberg Face has become something of a cliché, but there is at least one filmmaker who has dared to critically explore this device, and even subvert its power on the audience. That director is – Steven Spielberg. And I’m not referring to the unintentionally satirical character in Close Encounters, who may have experienced one Spielberg Face too many. In his post 9-11 movies, the Spielberg face is an expression of trauma in a world of perpetual danger. In War of the Worlds, Dakota Fanning wears an anti-Spielberg face of innocence lost witnessing unspeakable horrors. In Munich, Avner Kaufman reunites with his wife after years of hunting terrorists. In the first time a Spielberg face is used in a sex scene, the act of intimacy unleashes memories of historical torments he can’t suppress.

But for his most profound use of the face, we must look at one of Spielberg’s most maligned and misunderstood films. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence has been reviled as a cerebral Stanley Kubrick project ruined by Spielberg sentimentality. But the film can also be seen as an interrogation of the emotional ploys Spielberg has used all through his career, especially the Spielberg Face. The film’s hero is a robot boy whose default expression is a Spielberg Face. But this face is an artificial, mechanical façade, created for the enjoyment of its owner. The same can be said for all Spielberg Faces: they’re nothing more than manipulated images projected on a screen, manipulating us to feel something. Except that this time, these Spielberg Faces are clearly not human.

In an age where we find our reality increasingly mediated, replicated and replaced by the digital, A.I. asks a visionary question: where will the future of our humanity will be found? It projects thousands of years into the future, where the human race is now extinct. What remains of us is a robot boy with a Spielberg Face, frozen in a mechanical expression of wonder. Perhaps it is the ultimate testament to Spielberg’s hubris that he would imagine his signature image as the lasting legacy of the human race, but it is the same hubris that gives the movies life. What are movies but traces of our dreams that stay after the dreamers have gone away? Here, the Spielberg Face is the death mask of our species, projecting us, eyes wide open, in an eternal state of wonder at what lies beyond. In this regard, the Spielberg face is ours.

Written, Produced and Edited by
Kevin B. Lee
Inspired by “The Spielberg Face: A Legacy”
By Matt Patches
Published in UGO, May 23 2011

The Strange Phenomenon of musical "skin orgasms" - BBC

Some people feel music so strongly the sensations can be compared to sex. How does a good song move the body and mind in this way, asks David Robson.

Sometimes music strikes the body like a bolt of lightning. “I was in a friend’s dorm room in my third year as an undergraduate,” Psyche Loui remembers. “Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 came up on the radio and I was instantly captivated.” A chill down the spine, fluttering in her stomach, a racing heart – the musical movements still send the same feelings surging through her body to this day. “There are these slight melodic and harmonic twists in the second half that always get me!” she says.

The aesthetic experience can be so intense that you can’t do anything else.

Loui is an accomplished pianist and violinist, but you don’t need to be an expert for a song or score to electrify the senses in this way; it can strike anyone, anytime – in a cathedral or a shopping mall, at a wedding or on the Tube. You may know these physical feelings as chills or tingles – but some people feel them so powerfully, they describe the sensations as “skin orgasms”. “The aesthetic experience can be so intense that you can’t do anything else,” says Loui.

We normally only respond like this to experiences that might ensure or endanger our survival – food, reproduction, or the terrifying plummet of a rollercoaster. How can music – hardly a life-or-death pursuit – move the mind and the body as powerfully as sex? Years after her first dalliance with Rachmaninov’s concerto, Loui became a psychologist at Wesleyan University, and recently reviewed the evidence and theories explaining the phenomenon with her student Luke Harrison.

a favourite piece of music will speak to our empathy as we try to imagine what the composer or singer was feeling. It will also evoke our memories as the song becomes entrenched in the central events of our lives. The result is a heady emotional cocktail whenever you listen to the piece – and it is partly why our taste is so individual, says Loui. “Our own autobiographical experiences interact with the musical devices – so that everyone finds a different piece of music rewarding.”

A SLATE piece on "Why Does Great Music Give You the Chills?"

Derived from an article in The Conversation.

Have you ever been listening to a great piece of music and felt a chill run up your spine? Or goosebumps tickle your arms and shoulders?

The experience is called frisson (pronounced free-sawn), a French term meaning “aesthetic chills,” and it feels like waves of pleasure running all over your skin. Some researchers have even dubbed it a “skin orgasm.”

Listening to emotionally moving music is the most common trigger of frisson, but some feel it while looking at beautiful artwork, watching a particularly moving scene in a movie, or having physical contact with another person. Studies have shown that roughly two-thirds of the population feels frisson, and frisson-loving Reddit users have even created a subreddit to share their favorite frisson-causing media.

Musical passages that include unexpected harmonies, sudden changes in volume, or the moving entrance of a soloist are particularly common triggers for frisson because they violate listeners’ expectations in a positive way, similar to what occurred during the 2009 debut performance of the unassuming Susan Boyle on “Britain’s Got Talent.”

Researchers wondered "if a person were more cognitively immersed in a piece of music, then he or she might be more likely to experience frisson as a result of paying closer attention to the stimuli."

the results of our study show that it’s the cognitive components of “Openness to Experience” – such as making mental predictions about how the music is going to unfold or engaging in musical imagery (a way of processing music that combines listening with daydreaming) – that are associated with frisson to a greater degree than the emotional components.

REDDIT group on Frisson.

NOSTALGIA - an interesting article in
New Scientist

Wistful thinking: Why we are wired to dwell on the past
Nostalgia isn’t just a soppy emotion – it can amplify the best and worst in us

By Teal Burrell

ENDLESS movie remakes. Throwback Thursdays on social media. The return of baby names last in fashion a century ago. Politicians who seem to want to turn the clock back to that era. It seems the past has never been more popular than at present.

At times harmless, perhaps even mawkish, nostalgia can also be a powerful motivator of all that is good and bad in humanity. It is not a static feeling, pinned to the past, but a galvanizing force, shaping the future. Nostalgia can provoke political upheaval, xenophobia and bitter tribalism, yet, as psychologists are coming to understand, it can also promote well-being, tolerance and a sense of meaningfulness in life. By better understanding its influence, we are now finding ways to harness its benefits and, just as importantly, anticipate its harms.

The word nostalgia – from the Greek nostros, to return home, and algos, meaning pain – was coined by medical student Johannes Hofer in 1688, when he described a disorder observed in homesick Swiss mercenaries stationed in Italy and France. Like many people after him, Hofer saw nostalgia as a disease whose symptoms included weeping, fainting, fever and heart palpitations. He advised treating it with laxatives or narcotics, bloodletting or – if nothing else worked – by sending the soldiers home. Later it was claimed that the unrelenting clanging of cowbells in the Alps had caused the problem by damaging the soldiers’ brains.

read more at the
New Scientist

More on Emotions here - a
long list of emotions

The dimensions of emotion

emotions dimensions


YAEL - Yet Another Emotion List