I just recently learned of ASMR even though I’ve been experiencing the sensation my whole life. What I find so funny is how many ASMR fans and artists love Bob Ross. My family always joked at how much I loved watching Bob Ross growing up and I was never able to fully describe to them the sensations I was feeling. I used to seek out sounds that gave me the ASMR sensations and discovered there were many of them.
The first study to perform actual brain imaging (fMRI) on subjects currently experiencing ASMR tingles (as opposed to individuals who were merely able to experience the phenomenon) was published in BioImpacts in September 2018. Subjects viewed several ASMR videos with a screen and headphones while inside the MRI scanner. The study found a significant difference in brain activation between time periods when the subject reported tingling (communicated by pressing a button), as compared to time periods when they were watching a video but not reporting tingling (communicated by pressing a different button, to control for brain activation effects caused by merely pressing a button). They concluded that "the brain regions found most active during the tingling sensations were the nucleus accumbens, mPFC, insula and secondary somatosensory cortex", and suggested that these were similar to "activation of brain regions previously observed during experiences like social bonding and musical frisson".