The sound of science


ASMR Sounds by Sophie / Xcentricity Body Painting

Viridiana Salgado, Staff Writer

Autonomous sensory meridian response, also known as ASMR, has become widely spoken of over the past few years. ASMR is a term used to describe the tingling sensation that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine being caused by specific types of sounds.

While some may find the sounds ‘ASMRists’ create very strange, others say it helps them fall asleep and calms anxiety. The noise made is not a random selection, as there has been research on it.

Although previously unstudied, the current study identifies several common triggers used to achieve ASMR, including whispering, personal attention, crisp sounds and slow movements.

Psychologists Nick Davis and Emma Barrat discovered that whispering was an effective trigger for 75% of the 475 subjects who took part in an experiment to investigate the nature of ASMR.

In addition to the effectiveness of whisper stimuli, many subjects report that ASMR is triggered by the receipt of tender personal attention, often comprising of combined physical touch and vocal expression, such as when having their hair cut, nails painted, ears cleaned, or back massaged, whilst the service provider speaks quietly to the recipient.

Furthermore, many of those who have experienced ASMR during these and other comparable encounters with a service provider report that watching an ‘ASMRtist’ simulate the provision of such personal attention, acting directly to camera as if the viewer were the recipient of a simulated service, is sufficient to trigger it.

In a study conducted by Swansea University, personal attention came out as an effective trigger for 69% of the 475 participates, this trigger being second to whispering.

Over the course of time, this phenomenon has created an online subculture on YouTube. ASMR enthusiasts often use these videos therapeutically to help with symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

In a video titled, ‘Sleep for the sleepless’ by YouTube user Jojo’s ASMR, it is briefly mentioned how many who resort to these online relaxation sessions emotionally rely on those who are also interested in the same content.

Jojo states in the video, “the community we have is so awesome, and I got Instagram messages by those of you [the viewers] who are just telling me some of your issues. It means the world to me that you can seek a refuge [in my videos.]”

Enjoy the following ASMR video by ASMR Sounds by Sophie / Xcentricity Body Painting