Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 5–11

Aesthetic Chills as a Universal Marker of Openness to Experience

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11031-007-9053-1

Cite this article as:
McCrae, R.R. Motiv Emot (2007) 31: 5. doi:10.1007/s11031-007-9053-1


Aesthetic chills are transient emotional responses to music or other experiences of beauty. Item 188 of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) asks respondents if they have experienced these chills, and in American samples it is one of the best definers of Openness to Experience, one of the five basic personality factors. As part of the NEO-PI-R, the item has been translated into over 40 languages, and an examination of back-translations suggests that the phenomenon can be expressed in all the languages examined. Data from the Personality Profiles of Cultures Project show that Item 188 is one of the best definers of Openness in most of the 51 cultures examined. Aesthetic chills appear to be a universal emotional experience, although the functions they serve and the mechanisms that account for them remain to be discovered.


PersonalityOpenness to ExperienceMusicChills

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Personality and Cognition, Gerontology Research CenterNational Institute on AgingBaltimoreUSA