Project

Frisson

Adam Haar Horowitz

Groups

This project unites embodied cognition and on-body device design to ask questions about the origin of emotions and the potential to hack our brains and behavior by hacking the body. 

Frisson, also known as aesthetic chills, are the wave of chills you get while experience peak emotional moments in a song or peak meaning-making moments in a speech.  At once transcendent and physiological, the subtle signals of beauty and semantics meet mechanism as the sublime literally cascades across skin. Conveniently, frisson seems to be an almost universal marker of peak emotional experiences across a wide range of cultures and continents. Embodied cognition has done much to illuminate links between our physical experience and our psychological experience, and studies on misattribution of arousal show us we can drive cognition by driving physical sensation. This points to opportunities: if we can drive frisson, perhaps we can also drive the openness to experience, relief in stress, increase in empathy, and experience of meaning that frisson has been tied to in past research.

So we built a device… View full description

This project unites embodied cognition and on-body device design to ask questions about the origin of emotions and the potential to hack our brains and behavior by hacking the body. 

Frisson, also known as aesthetic chills, are the wave of chills you get while experience peak emotional moments in a song or peak meaning-making moments in a speech.  At once transcendent and physiological, the subtle signals of beauty and semantics meet mechanism as the sublime literally cascades across skin. Conveniently, frisson seems to be an almost universal marker of peak emotional experiences across a wide range of cultures and continents. Embodied cognition has done much to illuminate links between our physical experience and our psychological experience, and studies on misattribution of arousal show us we can drive cognition by driving physical sensation. This points to opportunities: if we can drive frisson, perhaps we can also drive the openness to experience, relief in stress, increase in empathy, and experience of meaning that frisson has been tied to in past research.

So we built a device to trigger frisson. Alongside Félix Schoeller, first we're testing whether inducing chills can increase deep attention and openness to experiences.  Psychophysiology driving thought from the spine upwards!