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Many Minds

May 26, 2021

Welcome back folks! We’ve got an audio essay for you this week. It touches on art, music, the skin, the spine, individual differences, vestigial responses, tiny muscles. There’s even some Darwin thrown in there. It’s a fun one. Hope you enjoy it!

A text version of this essay is available on Medium.


Notes and links

1:30 – The novel that very recently gave me goosebumps.

2:00 – A brief discussion of Nabokov and his ideas about the tell-tale tingle.  

2:45 – Some terms for goosebumps in other languages.

3:00 – A primer on skin anatomy.

4:00 – A paper on the thermoregulatory function of piloerection in primates and other animals.

4:25 – Read Darwin’s Expression here.

5:00 – A paper about “nails on chalkboard chills.” A paper that discusses claims that piloerection attends awe (but which fails to find evidence for this association in a lab setting). A paper on goosebumps in religious experiences. A paper that references mathematicians getting goosebumps when seeing proofs.

5:30 – The 1980 paper by Goldstein on “thrills.”

6:45 – The Darwin passage is quoted in McCrae 2007.

7:00 – A 1995 paper by Panskepp, as well as his 2002 study with a co-author.

7:40 – A recent paper on chills in response to films; another on poetry.

9:15 – The paper by McCrae reporting the association between “openness to experience” and chills.

10:00 – A paper by Fiske and colleagues on kama muta, the “sudden devotion emotion.”

11:10 – Panskepp’s “separation call” hypothesis is perhaps best described in his 2002 study.


Many Minds is a project of the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI) (, which is made possible by a generous grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation to UCLA. It is hosted by Kensy Cooperrider, with creative support from DISI Directors Erica Cartmill and Jacob Foster, and Associate Director Hilda Loury. Our artwork is by Ben Oldroyd (

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