How Music Evokes Awe (The Science of Happiness podcast)

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Why do some songs send chills down your spine or give you goosebumps? We explore the science of how music induces awe — and how that affects our well-being.
Episode summary:

In the last episode of our awe series, Dacher explores the mysteries of how music inspires awe and can transport us to another space and time with sound alchemist Laura Inserra. Later, we hear from the scientist who showed how awe-inspiring songs change the way we think and feel.

This is the last episode in our special series The Science of Awe. Check out the last four releases in our feed for Happiness Breaks that will help guide you to experience more awe in your life, and episodes of The Science of Happiness about the other profound ways that awe affects — and more places to find it.

Our host, Dacher Keltner, has a new book out about awe. It’s called Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life. Learn more here:

Today’s guests:

Laura Inserra is an instrumentalist, composer, producer, and a teacher who works with music to help people tap into a sense of awe.

Follow Laura on Instagram:

Follow Laura on YouTube:

Check out Laura’s website:
Qihao Ji is an assistant professor of Communication at Marist College

Learn more about Ji and his work:
Resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

How Music Bonds us Together:

Where Music and Empathy Converge in the Brain

How Many Emotions Can Music Make You Feel:
More Resources About Awe and Music

Bluefield Daily Telegraph – Music: A sense of Awe and Admiration:

NYT – How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Your Health:

Yamaha Music- The Science of Awe (And Why It Matters):
Tell us about your experiences with music awe. Email us at or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

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Transcription to come.

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