Have you ever listened to music and it gives you "chills?" This response is called a "frisson," a french word meaning "to shiver."

When I want to access certain emotional and inspirationally charged visualisations I get frissons that I can create or stop at will. I practice this exercise when I need a quick energy/mood boost. It feels very calming and relaxing, as if pure wave-like energy is ebbing and flowing - pulsating throughout my body.

$(1)$ What percentage of people experience frissons?

$(2) $ What percentage of people can create frissons at will?

Wikipedia says about this topic:

Frisson (French for 'shiver') is a sensation somewhat like shivering, usually caused by stimuli other than cold. It is typically expressed as an overwhelming emotional response combined with piloerection (goosebumps). Stimuli that produce a response are specific to the individual. Frisson is of short duration, usually no more than 4–5 seconds, usually pleasurable.[1] Typical stimuli include loud passages of music and passages that violate some level of musical expectation.[2]

Found this article about "voluntary piloerection:"


  • $\begingroup$ Hello, brother/sister! I think there are more of us than was originally estimated. The author of the original paper confirmed that multiple people report the same after effects you have. I use the technique to cool down on hot days. I believe the technique can be learned, but it takes some effort to find someone who doesn’t find the idea weird. $\endgroup$
    – Rethunk
    Jul 28, 2019 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Rethunk Yes I'm sure there are more than 35, but I think I am accurate in saying "about 35 people have been confirmed to exhibit voluntary piloerection in the scientific literature." It's very possible that more people have this trait, but I was talking about the number of people who have actually been confirmed to exhibit this trait in the scientific literature. $\endgroup$
    – geocalc33
    Jul 28, 2019 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ I just found out about frisson. I can move balls of weight across my body. I've had a few incidents of falling asleep while in this state which is scary since the weight dissipates into numbness. I'm so happy to finally put words to my feelings. I just read an article that mentioned frisson. $\endgroup$
    – Nic
    Nov 9, 2019 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ As a follow-up: I posted on Reddit with a method that I think may allow others to learn how to voluntarily give themselves goosebumps. reddit.com/r/voluntarypiloerection/comments/f1jp39/… $\endgroup$
    – Rethunk
    Feb 27, 2020 at 0:03

1 Answer 1


Apparently voluntary piloerection is extremely rare amongst the popoluation. Only about 35 people out of about 7.6 billion people in the world have been confirmed to exhibit voluntary piloerection in the scientific literature.

For piloerection in general, only 2/3 of the population exhibit this trait.

As is stated in the abstract of the cited source below (which discusses voluntarily controlled piloerection), the ability correlates with personality traits of openness to new experiences, and highly emotionally developed parts of the brain:

"Compared to previously collected samples, participants reported significantly higher openness to experience, and absorption in response to aesthetic situations. These preliminary findings suggest that this rare and unusual physiological ability has strong emotional and personality correlates."



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