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.
“I just tried it because I thought it would help out my channel and it did, yeah,” Kelly says of her honeycomb video. When she started her channel in March 2018, Kelly made more traditional YouTube videos – filming herself applying make-up and eating different foreign snacks. “It was exciting,” she says of going viral, “because I was like, this could actually be my dream, I’ve always wanted a lot of subscribers.”

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".[29]
I’m so glad I read these few posts before I commented on my experience, and asked what the best thing may be for me that is non physical. I was a child care provider for 20 years, and the first time I experienced what your describing as an adult, was when one of the babies crawled to my painted toe nails, and started touching my toes very softly. The feeling was so soft, so gentle and she looked so cute with her concentration on those red toe nails lol. The feeling was not sexual in anyway, it felt like love exhaling from my soul, and my head neck and arms felt like goose bumps but very soft and tingly. After that, I found that playing drawing games on our backs with the kids, was how to feel that everyday. Honestly, kids touch sooo gently, they are so naturally innocent, it feels like an angel pacing through your body, and I often would fall asleep with them when we did it at nap time. This feeling of such innocence seems to be a trigger for me. So how do I find that feeling with no human touch? As a child, my mother would put me to sleep with what our family calls “ticky”, its very soft touch with the fingers gliding across your arm or back and neck. It’s a sure way to fall asleep, but how do u get that tingly feeling in your scalp without touch? And I had one of those head massagers before, he’s it felt nice, but nothing like how u can relax from someone else’s touch on your skin so soft it’s like a skin wisper. Sigh, I have no one who gives me human touch. And haven’t for many years now. I feel so alone physically ( not sexual). Sorry for such long note, but I have not slept in weeks, literally, I can’t sleep more than an hour or two, and not until sunup. I’m so physically and mentally exhausted, I cry for God’s help at night. PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS! I need the simplest and fastest suggestions, thanks. Sad Sue xo.

ASMR refers to the pleasurable sensation people experience when exposed to various specific triggers, either from ASMR videos or in their everyday lives. According to a 2015 study from Swansea University in Wales—the first peer-reviewed research into ASMR—whispering is the most common trigger for ASMR, with 75% of participants experiencing ASMR sensations from it. The other most common triggers were personal attention, crisp sounds (like tapping or crunching), and slow movements, as reported by the group of 475 participants.
Another article, published in the journal Television and New Media in November 2014, is by Joceline Andersen, a doctoral student in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University,[36] who suggested that ASMR videos comprising whispering 'create an intimate sonic space shared by the listener and the whisperer'. Andersen's article proposes that the pleasure jointly shared by both an ASMR video creator and its viewers might be perceived as a particular form of 'non-standard intimacy' by which consumers pursue a form of pleasure mediated by video media. Andersen suggests that such pursuit is private yet also public or publicized through the sharing of experiences via online communication with others within the 'whispering community'.[37]
In the first peer-reviewed article on ASMR, published in Perspectives in Biology in summer 2013, Nitin Ahuja, who was at the time of publication a medical resident at the University of Virginia, invited conjecture on whether the receipt of simulated medical attention might have some tangible therapeutic value for the recipient, comparing the purported positive outcome of clinical role play ASMR videos with the themes of the novel Love in the Ruins by author and physician Walker Percy, published in 1971.[5]
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