^ Smith, Stephen; Fredborg, Beverley Katherine; Kornelsen, Jennifer (14 August 2015). "An examination of the default mode network in individuals with autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)". Social Neuroscience. 12 (4): 361–365. doi:10.1080/17470919.2016.1188851. PMID 27196787. In the current study, the default mode network (DMN) of 11 individuals with ASMR was contrasted to that of 11 matched controls.
Because ASMR is such an individualistic experience, different triggers affect some people more than others. Not everyone experiences ASMR to the same intensity and the effects can differ from person to person. However, ASMR is most commonly described as a pleasurable "tingling" sensation that begins in your scalp and creeps its way down your neck and your back, sometimes spreading out to the limbs. Others describe it as "goosebumps on the brain" and "warm chills," a shivering feeling you might get if someone was gently tracing their finger down your spine. Some say it's like the pins and needles sensation when your foot falls asleep, but pleasurable instead of painful. These tingles are always accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of peaceful relaxation and euphoria; many people report feeling their anxiety slip away, and they often fall asleep afterword.
The second most recent and more thorough scientific study published in June 2018 shows that during the experience of ASMR the heart rate lowers considerably (In fact similarly to other Meditation practises) and skin conductivity increases. This research was conducted by Dr. Giulia Poerio of the University of Sheffield’s Psychology department and Tom Hostler, lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/asmr-health-psychological-benefits-1.787541
"Seven years later, ASMR is having a pop culture moment—even if many of those who use it don’t know what the acronym stands for. The phenomenon’s most popular practitioners have more than half a million subscribers, and the doyenne of ASMRrtists, Maria of Gentle Whispering ASMR, has been so successful that she’s been able to quit her job to role-play soothing cosmetologists, librarians and flight attendants full-time. But what is ASMR? What function does it serve, who is drawn to it, and why? Or, as researcher Craig Richard puts it: 'Why are millions of people watching someone fold a napkin?'
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, 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'.
Yang Haiying is a soft-spoken Asian woman with thousands of videos uploaded to her Youtube account. The videos cover a whole bunch of topics ranging from painting to cooking to the making of tea. I’ve only seen her tea-related videos, but she has the kind of voice that will shiver you right up—and she knows it, too. Some of her videos are titled and tagged as “Inadvertent ASMR,” so she definitely knows the power of her sweet voice.
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".
Imaging subjects' brains with fMRI as they reported experiencing ASMR tingles suggests support for this hypothesis, because brain areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex (associated with social behaviors including grooming), and the secondary somatosensory cortex (associated with sensation of touch) were activated more strongly during tingle periods than control periods.
There's even a fine line between what will relax someone and help them fall asleep and what actually brings on the tingles. "White noise and nature sounds are very helpful for relaxation and sleep induction because they mask background sounds. ASMR-inducing sounds—gentle voices, soft crinkling, light tapping—can also do this, but they're even more relaxing," says Richard.
The most popular stuff discussed amongst ASMR community is whispering and tapping – and I get it a bit from that – but one thing is, I know that when the person is addressing me (or the camera as it may be), that seems to dispel ASMR for me. In fact, I’d say a pre-req for me to ASMR is that I am in the role of passive observer – perhaps that speaks to my personality? I know I have introverted tendencies. That leads me to the first of my questions:
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)
I only found out that my physical sensations were a ‘thing’ that not everybody experiences yesterday, after listening to a radio program about it. Like you, Mary, I have a whole range of experiences from momentary euphoric head ‘lifts’ to all-over tingling and prickling (not always very pleasant). These sensations have also been associated with a whole range of experiences, including sexual ones. Music is a massive trigger of my sensations, as is spiritual experience or prayer. As for religious music – Orthodox chant will definitely get me there, and singing with my shape note group is indescribably intense. So thank you for your brilliantly described experiences which have helped me to see my spectrum of sensations as part of a whole…something.
I have a question about my own experience with ASMR. I do not have any of the common triggers that are mentioned here. Mine seems more cognitive than anything else. When I fully express a thought with someone who is deeply engaged in the conversation and they agree with me or give me some sign that they understand, I get an intense tingle in my head and scalp. I think its very odd, but I enjoy it and I think it has reinforced my ability and preference for good conversation. I am just curious if anyone else experiences anything remotely similar to this and if you have found anything else that goes along with it. Thanks!
You can find ASMR videos in many genres on YouTube. Lately, though, there is a growing body of food-related ASMR. There are ASMR artists who tape themselves opening a bag of fast-food, making sure that the act of unwrapping is a loud, crinkly affair. That follows with chewing the food, the microphone so close, the audio so amped up, that even swallowing is audible.
It seems at the moment that the answer is no. Not everybody reports experiencing this sensation. Most people discover it by accident in their childhood, however some adults experience it for the first time. If you haven’t experienced ASMR before, it might just be that you haven’t found your personal triggers yet. Check out our article detailing the common triggers to see if any of them do it for you.
Well. I started getting ASMR or Empathic Enlightenment as I called it, since the late 70’s. At a family gathering in ’79, I spoke with an old hippie Artist, a Painter, a friend of my mothers, who told me it was “Enlightenment”. Empathy for a moment shared he said. He too, was inflicted with the ability, and spoke in a hushed tone about it, Bob Dylans “Hurricane” played in the background, as he told me about the metaphysical and artistic side of life. I never forgot that night, and “Hurricane” is still my favourite song.
The least sexual and most Spiritual ASMR I’ve ever had was when I was traveling in the Holy Land, and a man trained as a Jewish Cantor (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/what-is-a-cantor/) recited/sang a prayer in a Baha’i Temple. My entire body throbbed with the sound that poured out of that man’s soul My skin felt so tight I could have been a clothing size smaller, the tingles of deep joy coursed in whirls under my skin, my blood pounding through my veins. If you’ve ever watched videos of sand on top of speakers… it felt like that man’s voice was having that effect on my body, changing the very cell structure, just with the sound of his chanting. It was amazing. It was incredibly intense. And definitely spiritual.
But Roleplay itself is not that big a trigger, it is mainly just the tapping that would trigger it, haircuts maybe but the type I like are rare on youtube. Roleplay asmr just helps fill the social or behavioral voids in my life. I have a very idealistic sense of romance so a lot of the RP’s help with that. I have a weird obsession in researching sadomasochism and the masochism aspect is easily found in asmr that is similar to a Yandere or Vampire RP. The sadism I get filled from games even though no one expects that from a guy who apologizes as he passes by someone and without inconveniencing them. And in many cases people are just sort of getting sick of this commercialized “physical world” so I am not that alone in seeking fantasy settings. Out of the 10 most popular movies of 2016 in america 9 of them were fantasy.
If you want to find out more about ASMR Videos or how to find them check out the ASMR Videos page. Often the most successful ASMR videos will include a variety of triggers, and sometimes that combination can produce much more of an effect than the isolated triggers themselves, for some good examples of this check out our round-up of cranial nerve exam videos.
Does it always start in your ears? When I’m sick, sometimes my ASMR starts automatically but I can always control it and stop it later if my muscles are aching badly (like a flu). I shudder sometimes too without even triggering my ASMR. I think the shudder is a warning or something, not sure. It actually makes thunder sounds in your ears? I’m curious now.. I can never get it to make sounds, but I’ve noticed something when I touch dogs or cats sometimes when I do it.. very unique but strange/good reaction from pets.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. A feeling that is produced when listening to certain sounds and/or looking at certain visuals. The majority of people who experience ASMR don't mention it to their peers. I can almost guarantee that, you, reading this paragraph, has not mentioned ASMR to anyone you know. Most likely because you think they will think you're weird. We all feel the same way!
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.
I had an abnormal psychology professor in undergrad that would have me drooling by the end of class because her voice was so “soothing”. Lately, I have found that instructional videos via Youtube do the trick. I’m embarrassed to say, but I watched a video of some random guy giving a tutorial on how to properly clean out your ear for roughly a year (lol). I can watch nearly anything instructional to induce the sensation, but I am drawn to videos in which the narrator has an accent.
There are deeper meanings to "bliss". As more and more people mature, process their emotions and connect with others and their true purposes, "bliss" will happen between more and more people. Basically it's asexual, a bit pleasurable but more importantly it wakes up more areas of the brain/body-complex. People processing this need to activate their bodies more in other to balance the maturing mind/spirit-aspects of their being ("grounding"), and the physical activity may also help with backpains. The tendency of such people is to be a bit too seclusive, so need to remember to assert oneself more as well.
There are certain “chillout” music tracks that trigger a pleasant ASMR sensation for me if I listen through headphones. They are likely to be more effective than watching someone folding a towel. One of them is “Summer Love” by Paul Hardcastle. There are some pulsating notes right at the beginning which seem to massage the brain & scalp; and the female singers have a soft gentle sound in their choruses and harmonies. Also try “Deep River” by Lemongrass featuring the Russian keyboard player / vocalist Jane Maximova. It has long notes which undulate warmly, invoking inner visions of beaches and ocean waves. Over these warm sounds, Jane whispers a poem from the point of view a woman who sees herself as a “deep river” for her lover. Her mermaid-like singing and whispers, along with her exotic accent, will surely trigger ASMR, or send you gently to sleep.
If the amazing feeling from having someone (or in a lesser way myself) tickle me lightly on my arm or the back of my neck, sort of drag their fingers or fingernails lightly across my arm/neck is ASMR, then yes. I also sometimes shiver and get goosebumps if someone’s brushing/playing with my hair… I don’t know if it’s ASMR though. It seems like just being ticklish, though it’s the most amazing feeling.
Replies to this post indicated that a significant number of other people had experienced the sensation which "okaywhatever" described - also in response to witnessing mundane events. The interchanges precipitated the formation of a number of web-based locations intended to facilitate further discussion and analysis of the phenomenon for which there were plentiful anecdotal accounts, yet no consensus-agreed name nor any scientific data or explanation.