Okay, science may never explain the shoe thing. But scroll through these lists, and the array of triggers is largely consistent: classical music, haircuts, movie trailers, Bob Ross, more Bob Ross, lots of Bob Ross, the painter best known for his popular instructional videos. Forget the bucolic landscapes; these Ross fans are fixated on his calming baritone and the rustle of his brush on the canvas.
And then there’s the cooking. You can watch as someone on the ASMR cooking channel Sound Croquette makes mozzarella sticks, Nutella crepes, fried chicken and more. In some cooking videos, the artist whispers all the while. In others there is no talking, only the sights and rhythmic sounds of cooking — frying, cracking an egg, boiling water, chopping, mixing and stirring.
Hidden on YouTube among the videos of aspiring singers crooning Justin Bieber and amateur gamers playing FortNite is a star unlike the others. Her name is Spirit Payton, and her claim to fame is making noise. In her most popular video, with upwards of 13 million views, you’ll find her noisily chewing pickles next to a microphone. Yes, 13 million people have watched Spirit eat pickles—and they love it. Welcome to ASMR.
I just went through all the videos on this page, and it seems I only respond to female voices. The other videos of scratching and stuff, didn’t do anything for me. Now that I think about it, I don’t get ticklish if I sit next to another guy. Even the music I listen to tend to be all female vocalists. I’m not a sexist, but I guess being a guy, I respond to higher-pitched female voices. At night, I hit the Japanese radio stations on my phone looking for female DJs and if I catch one talking, I close my eyes, and I’m sleeping before I can count to 20.
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!
A: I thought it was awesome. They hit the nail on the head. You can tell they did their research: They had the binaural microphones, had her whispering back and forth. They had tapping, nice sounds. They definitely watched content and had done their research on what ASMR is supposed to be. They, of course, blew it up, made it Hollywood, used a big budget, and so it was very cool. They were accurate.
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.
“People asked for really weird things,” she explains, “like tapping on a TV or playing with string.” For instance, one stranger paid Kelly $50 (about £38) to film herself eating cookies and milk. In an 11-minute video, Kelly tapped on the biscuits with her vibrant pink fingernails before biting into them and slurping them down with a jar of milk. More than 300,000 people watched that video.

Jacob Daniel is clearly a savvy child – although excitable and eccentric, he talks soberly about safety on YouTube, clapping his hands as he tells children to “be, be safe”. He tells kids to use fake names, access their email with VPNs, and avoid making custom Skype calls with viewers. For all his intelligence, however, Daniel is still a child. He and Prunkl show off a series of wigs they play with at home – he dons a purple one with red horns; Prunkl shows me her doll. They talk excitedly about the pranks they play on the public, wearing the wigs to order food in take-away shops.
Yes, i used to meet with a woman once a month. She would get to my desk and start talking. I felt i was in a trance, like she was affecting my brain waves. She had had a brain injury and surgery. I later met another lady who was a neighbor and she had the same effect on me. It was later discovered that she had a brain tumor. I’ve never had that experience before or since except sometimes fluorescent lights cause the same feeling.
Any cursory Googling will bring up videos from the doyenne of ASMR, an Eastern European woman named Maria who goes by the handle GentleWhispering and who constantly sounds like she's on the verge of crying as she attempts to trigger the chills by blowing into a high-tech microphone or folding towels. Her most popular videos have reached over six million views.
Then begins the whispering voice of an English girl named WhisperingLife and with it the very first Whisper video. Since this time the feeling brought on by the whispering has been given its name as ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) and Whisperers have been named ASMRtists. Other terms are Sleep Whisperer, Whisper Therapist or just ASMR Content Creator. By now there are so many more content creators, very likely in the hundreds. There is a style, sound and personality for everyone.
A few weeks ago, Maria says, she was contacted by a young woman whose grandmother was in a hospice. The elderly woman was no longer very responsive, but when the granddaughter played Maria’s videos, “it made her grandmother happy and calmed her down,” Maria says, recalling the woman’s message. “She said, ‘This is so great, because we don’t know how else to help her.’ ”
For instance, you’re probably familiar with soap cutting ASMR videos, which sound like a xylophone, or emptying a bag of Scrabble letters onto a table. But more broadly, ASMR posts generally seek to trigger an autonomous sensory meridian response—a tingly feeling provoked by certain noises and sensory inputs. The community is huge: there are currently over 5.3 million Instagram posts tagged under #ASMR on Instagram (the genre is hugely popular on YouTube, too.)
While scientific evidence is pretty scarce, the number of devotees is overwhelming: ASMR online groups and forums are flooded with stories of people suffering from unbearable and incurable anxiety or insomnia until they came across Bob Ross' soothing voice on late-night TV or heard pages gently turning in a library. (Related: Incredibly Odd Insomnia Cures People Actually Try)
The contemporary history of ASMR began on 19 October 2007 on a discussion forum for health-related subjects at a website called Steady Health.[22] A 21-year-old registered user with the handle "okaywhatever" submitted a post describing having experienced a specific sensation since childhood, comparable to that stimulated by tracing fingers along the skin, yet often triggered by seemingly random and unrelated non-haptic events, such as "watching a puppet show" or "being read a story".[23]
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