Nothing can currently be definitively known about any evolutionary origins for ASMR since the perceptual phenomenon itself has yet to be clearly identified as having biological correlations. Even so, a significant majority of descriptions of ASMR by those who experience it compare the sensation to that precipitated by receipt of tender physical touch, providing examples such as having their hair cut or combed. This has led to the conjecture that ASMR might be related to the act of grooming.
The most popular source of stimuli reported by subjects to be effective in triggering ASMR is video. Videos reported being effective in triggering ASMR fall into two categories, identified and named by the community as 'Intentional' and 'Unintentional'. Intentional media is created by those known within the community as 'ASMRtists' with the purpose of triggering ASMR in viewers and listeners. Unintentional media is that made for other purposes, often before attention was drawn to the phenomenon in 2007, but which some subjects discover to be effective in triggering ASMR. One early unintentional example is the Art Bears song 'The Bath of Stars.' Another example of unintentional media several journalists have noted is of famed painter Bob Ross. In episodes of his popular television series The Joy of Painting both broadcast and on YouTube, his soft, gentle speaking mannerisms and the sound of him painting and his tools trigger the effect on many of his viewers. The work of stop-motion filmmaker PES is also often noted.
However, the truly novel findings came from a second experiment, when 110 participants viewed ASMR videos while connected to biological feedback machinery. After watching the videos, the heart rates of people with ASMR slowed on average by more than three beats per minute. And their skin conductance levels—a measure of physiological arousal – were significantly increased compared to those in the non-ASMR group.
Some ASMR video creators use binaural recording techniques to simulate the acoustics of a three-dimensional environment, reported to elicit in viewers and listeners the experience of being in close proximity to actor and vocalist. Binaural recordings are usually made using two microphones, just like stereo recordings. However, in binaural recordings the two microphones tend to be more specially designed to mimic ears on humans. In many cases, microphones are separated the same distance as ears are on humans, and microphones are surrounded by ear-shaped cups to get similar reverb as human ears.
The vast majority of people who seek out ASMR do so as a method of relaxation, according to the 2015 Swansea University study, which found that 98% of participants turned to ASMR for this purpose. 82% of participants reported using ASMR as a sleep aid, and 70% said ASMR helps them feel less anxious. Other participants reported ASMR eased their symptoms of depression, boosted their mood, and brought relief for chronic pain. Beyond this study, some people have even said that ASMR acted as a form of therapy to help them work through trauma.
ASMR, or “autonomous sensory meridian response,” is the term for the sensation people get when they watch stimulating videos such as this one. Many people describe the feeling as “tingles” (or “head orgasms“) that run through the back of the head, neck, and, spine. For some, the feeling is deeply relaxing and can even cause them to fall asleep. This is definitely not something I experienced.
"Anecdotally, people are also using ASMR videos to help with stress, depression, loneliness, and social anxiety," says Giulia Poerio, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Poerio recently published a study in PLoS One that found ASMR does, in fact, help people feel calmer, less stressed, and less sad. It even tangibly lowers their heart rates—all suggesting ASMR may have very real, therapeutic value. Meanwhile, previous research in PeerJ reports the sounds can help temporarily alleviate symptoms of depression and chronic pain for those who are tuned into the tingles.
Sounds work ok, but I have always got the most (for lack of better word) intense asmr from touch. They don’t even have to touch me. When I was in 4-5 grade I would get it when someone I dont know well touched something close to me like my favorite stuffed animal or the eraser I use every day at school. Now I can just get lightly touched on the face and it will happen. I can just think about it and get it now.
Four months after Novella's blog post, Tom Stafford, a lecturer in psychology and cognitive sciences at the University of Sheffield, was reported to have said that ASMR "might well be a real thing, but it's inherently difficult to research...something like this that you can't see or feel" and "doesn't happen for everyone". Stafford compared the current status of ASMR with development of attitudes toward synesthesia, which he said "for years...was a myth, then in the 1990s people came up with a reliable way of measuring it".
I’m not sure how to say this, but I’ll try. I think this experience is a spiritual one. I get the impression that when we appreciate something so simple and quiet this pleases God. It’s our own willingness to accept such “insignificant” events and appreciate the beauty of things which would otherwise be discarded in our noisy and materialistic lives. The appreciation of “small” things, be it sounds, sensations, smells which would otherwise be ignored really pleases our Creator, these sensations are a gift, a “thank you” for appreciating the wonder of nature and creation in all its beauty, especially the seemingly insignifcant moments and events in time ignored and forgotten by mankind…
I myself never knew what ASMR was until later in life and to be honest I cannot say that I really remember feeling the tingles when I was younger. I found out about ASMR through videos of people doing hair and makeup tutorials. This has been about 1 year ago and since then I have fell in love the ideas of what goes on in the neural levels of ASMR interactions. Please feel free to visit my blog to learn more about what I would like to accomplish with ASMR and cognitive behavioral therapy! http://hncarter.weebly.com/blog
I say “dis-analogy” because when you think about it, ASMR is nothing like an orgasm, and in fact is closer to the exact opposite of an orgasm on the spectrum of things that feel good. Orgasms are short intense bursts that are characterized by tension, desire, need, etc. ASMR often involves letting go, relaxing and just being at peace. I think ASMR is a more anticipatory sensation, where often times the anticipation is actually better than the thing anticipated. But the anticipation of sex, without actual sex is for most people extremely frustrating.
I attribute it to my son in spirit being present. It didn’t happen to me until after he died. I can’t control it and comes at random times, I’m not able to pinpoint it. It comes in every quadrant of my head at various times of the day and some day’s only a few times. Lately it’s often and much stronger. I thought perhaps because we are within several weeks of first anniversary of his death.
Mockery is a problem for any child in the limelight – one of Jacob Daniel’s fellow ASMRtist United founders quit YouTube after being picked on at school. Kelly says there are rumours that one girl at school said she was “annoying”, but most people think her channel is “cool”. Yet Kelly isn’t just a famous ASMRtist – she is also a meme. On social media, people edit her videos into short clips and share them with relatable captions.
So far I have experienced all The common ASMR triggers. However the best ones are those when I’m listening to music, more specifically electronic or EDM. As chessy as sounds I have discovered that my ASMR can be triggered during the end of climatic build ups or bass drops and the feeling is pure bliss. All you need is a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones or an isolated room with kickass Sub … Works every time
Generally speaking, ASMR content creators are essentially self taught YouTubers who have experienced this feeling all of their lives just like the viewers. Those that have been creating content for many years have literally been developing these techniques since they started. Working with the early childhood memories of triggers, adapting these for a video setting, trying out new ideas, developing those seen done by fellow content creators, viewer suggestions and feedback. Personally it’s been an interesting journey with trials, errors and successes to develop the skills I have now and there is still a way to go with more ideas to explore. Not just in video format but live and in person sessions.
I would spend all Friday, Saturday drawing outlines with my 3 best friends, discussing art, colour and symmetry for hours, then spend all Saturday night bombing trains, painting together would activate it intensely, in the dark, spooky and exhilarating all at the same time, while four kids spent their weekends silently breaking the law to paint Top-to-Bottom Wholecars just for art’s sake)
Being only thirteen, a new year at school always brings the excitement that I might get a teacher with one of those perfectly soft ASMR-y voices. I've only had one, but luckily I had her for two grades (grade two and three) she came from Ireland, but didn't have too strong of an accent, just enough that it would always relax me. Dang I miss that class... LOL.
Oh! Everything you said resonates for me, Pet Richoria! I have specific songs that tingle me all to pieces, and these have always been my special favorites, which I would play again and again, and share with others, in hopes that they would experience something similar. Some are Pink Floyd’s “Echoes,” Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles’ Last Stand,” Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” Tool’s “Jimmy,” St. Vincent’s “The Bed,” Beck’s “Lonesome Tears,’ and The Morning Benders’ ” Pleasure Sighs.” There are many, many more, though!
Over the past few years, videos like this have exploded in popularity on the platform. Millions are tuning in to watch strangers whisper into their microphones, tap their fingernails, fold napkins, or roleplay as a comforting nurse—all to help viewers experience a tingling, relaxing feeling known as autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR. It may seem bizarre and uncomfortably intimate and maybe even a little creepy the first time you watch an ASMR video, but the creators behind these videos have a truly benevolent intent: to help their views relax, fall asleep, and find relief from the stress of their everyday lives.
I remember the first time i experienced ASMR: I was laying on the couch when i was 5, I think i was having bad dreams and wanted to sleep closer to my parents. The dryer was going and my head was tingling the whole time. I will never forget that first time. Just this year i found out about the ASMR community and i finally have the answer that i have been looking for! So happy!
Addressing the issue here of the wire scalp thingy… yeah that one’s right smack in the center of Sensual. Nothing sexual about it, though – for me – nothing particularly Spiritual either. I’ve only ever seen them sold as “Scalp Tinglers”, and didn’t find it very special. I much prefer my Denman scalp massagers. THOSE trigger intense ASMR’s for me. My whole body from crown to toes feels like it’s melting in joy when I scrub my head with two of those things, one in each hand. WOW.
The increase in skin conductance “went against our initial predictions,” says Dr. Giulia Poerio, a research associate at the University of Sheffield and lead author of the paper. She says the seemingly contradictory combination of heart rate drop and increased biological excitement “could reflect the emotional complexity of ASMR.” Paradoxical emotional experiences are not unheard of — take nostalgia, the paper notes, which can conjure up feelings of happiness and sadness simultaneously.
“We talked to her about how it’s good today but might be gone tomorrow,” Lacy says. With YouTube’s new, stricter regulations, child ASMRtists may be replaced by an as-yet-unknown breed of internet celebrity. Desireé Hunnicutt, for instance, is hoping that Aoki’s early start on YouTube will allow her to start a business. “I believe in Aoki figuring out what it is that she wants to do in life even early on and I hope it actually helps her,” she says.
A minor detail, I know, but I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t call the head massager an “orgasmatron”. There are enough attempts by the media, both advertent and inadvertent, to sexualize ASMR, and we really don’t want newcommers to get the wrong idea. Those who experience ASMR may be able to easily look past the dis-analogy, but for those who don’t, it’s little things like this that make it that much harder.
It also might be the case that you need an in-person physical trigger to experience ASMR rather than being able to feel it after watching a Youtube clip, Richard adds. Have someone play with your hair, touch your arm lightly, draw letters on your back with their fingers or whisper to you. “ASMR is ultimately about that personal connection,” Richard says.
It now drives an entire industry on YouTube, where video artists rack up millions of views filming an array of audio and visual triggers for their viewers: They whisper, tap their fingers, flip through pages of a book, play with slime, slurp up noodles, make “mouth sounds” and even role-play scenarios like a spa visit or a doctor’s appointment — anything to evoke the sensation.
While little scientific research has been conducted into potential neurobiological correlates to the perceptual phenomenon known as 'autonomous sensory meridian response' (ASMR), with a consequent dearth of data with which to either explain or refute its physical nature, there is voluminous anecdotal literature comprising personal commentary and intimate disclosure of subjective experiences distributed across forums, blogs, and YouTube comments by hundreds of thousands of people. Within this literature, in addition to the original consensus that ASMR is euphoric but non-sexual in nature, a further point of continued majority agreement within the community of those who experience it is that they fall into two broad categories of subjects.