The ASMR Research Project is something I began a few months ago after stumbling upon an interesting collection of very popular videos on YouTube. ASMR is a sort of pseudo-scientific name coined by Jennifer Allen, before which the sensation had existed but remained nameless. My goal for this project is to inspire serious scientific about ASMR. Millions of people have anecdotal claims to have beneficial affects on mood, particularly anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and could be used as a cost-free treatment. While anecdotal accounts hold little weight in the scientific community, the shear amount of these accounts warrants some preliminary empirical studies.
What is it?
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a neurophysiological effect in response to particular auditory, visual, and possibly psychological stimulation. The experience is thought to be connected with notions of intimacy, immersion, and novelty. Typically this input is experienced through headphones and often recorded with high quality and/or binaural microphones. Currently, the largest database for ASMR videos is Youtube with tens of millions of hits on the topic. ASMR is recorded mostly by independent artists, topics ranging from tapping objects to role playing and personal affirmations. Most of the videos include aspects of intimacy and immersion with the viewer. Some artists like “ASMRequests” among others, have began producing ASMR videos for virtual reality. Most content produces (certainly the most popular videos) are done intentionally by ASMR artists, however, there is a category of videos dubbed, unintended ASMR. Many viewers can have the experience through other videos that include, training, instruction, nurturing, or immersive aspects.
For many consumers of ASMR, a distinct “tingling” effect is provoked by the artists that can develop from the crown of the head to the lower torso, and even to the back and legs. The effect lasts from a fraction of a second to a few seconds, but may be repeated for a number of times consecutively throughout videos. ASMR consumers also report developing a tolerance to the experience. Many lose the “tingly” sensation after experiencing the same stimulation over time or losing the experience all together. Others never actually experience this “tingle” effect yet enjoy experiencing the videos for relaxation reasons.