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Autonomous sensory meridian response

in 2010.[3] Autonomous refers to the capacity in many

to facilitate or completely create the sensation at will.[2]
Meridian, from Old French of the noon time, midday
alludes to the high or euphoria experienced. Also
meridian channels are paths through which the bodys
life-energy ows, according to the teachings of traditional
Chinese medicine.
'K R' said the nursemaid, and Septimus heard her
say 'Kay Arr' close to his ear, deeply, softly, like a mellow
organ, but with a roughness in her voice like a grasshoppers, which rasped his spine deliciously and sent running up into his brain waves of sound which, concussing,
broke. A marvelous discovery indeed that the human
voice in certain atmospheric conditions (for one must be
scientic, above all scientic) can quicken trees into life!

A video intended to trigger ASMR

Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (1925)[4]

Other attempts to describe the sensation refer to it as a
brain massage, head tingle, brain tingle, spine tingle, and brain orgasm.[5][6][7][8][9][10]
Since the mechanism of ASMR is not thought to be related to sexual orgasm, terms including the word orgasm are considered misleading.[2]

A video intended to trigger ASMR

The University of Oxford's Practical Ethics says that unrecognized descriptions of the ASMR experience predate
the online publicity of the phenomenon by many years,
citing an article in Sddeutsche Zeitung by Austrian writer
Clemens Setz, who notes that a passage from Virginia
Woolf's Mrs Dalloway (1925) shares similarities to the
ASMR phenomenon.[11]

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is

a neologism for a perceptual phenomenon characterized
as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head,
scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response
to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli.
The nature and classication of the ASMR phenomenon
is controversial,[1] with much anecdotal evidence of the
phenomenon but little or no scientic explanation or veried data.[2]

2 Triggers

Origins of the term

Online discussion groups such as the Society of Sensationalists formed in 2008 on Yahoo! and the Unnamed Feeling blog created in 2010 by Andrew MacMuiris aimed
to provide a community for learning more about the sensation by sharing ideas and personal experiences. Some
earlier names for ASMR in these discussion groups included attention induced head orgasm, attention induced
euphoria, and attention induced observant euphoria.[2]
In response to these earlier phrases, the term autonomous
sensory meridian response was coined by Jennifer Allen A binaural roleplay ASMR video from YouTube

People who experience ASMR commonly report having
dierent triggers that stimulate them. A commonly reported stimulus for ASMR is the sound of whispering.
As evident on YouTube, a variety of videos and audio
recordings involve the creator whispering or communicating with a soft-spoken intonation into a sound recording device and generally a camera.[12][13][14][15]


ASMR has been the topic of various audio and video
newscasts.[13][22][23][24] There has also been coverage in
traditional and online print publications.[25][26] A live radio broadcast featured an interview with a man stating
that he experiences ASMR and included a discussion
of the phenomenon and what triggered it for him.[10] A
podcast in The McGill Daily mentions the high prevalence of ASMR videos on YouTube and features dierent people describing their personal experiences of the
feeling.[27] In both media discussions those who experience the phenomenon stated that ASMR is calming or
relaxing and is not associated with sexual arousal.

Some people nd that ambient noise such as scratching,

crinkling, tapping, blowing, writing (usually with a pen),
and moving paper stimulate ASMR. Many videos are
found on YouTube that focus on these triggers, and many
use binaural recording to simulate a 3D environment.[16]
3D sounds from a person may elicit a tangible feeling of
the person being near the listener, while certain kinds of The WBEZ Chicago public radio program This American
ambient noise may simply sound pleasurable.[17]
Life broadcast a story by American novelist Andrea Seigel
Many role-playing videos and audio recordings also aim and her experience with ASMR.[24]
to stimulate ASMR. Examples include descriptive ses- The KCRW Los Angeles and McSweeneys collaborative
sions, in a style similar to guided imagery, for experi- podcast, The Organist, produced an episode concerned
ences such as haircuts, massages, visits to a doctors of- with ASMR and some of its leading practitioners.[28]
ce, and ear-cleaning. While these make-believe situations are acted out by the creator, viewers and listeners Sacramento news program News10/KXTV reported on
report an ASMR eect that relieves insomnia, anxiety, the emergence of ASMR videos on the internet for triggering ASMR and helping viewers relax or fall asleep.
or panic attacks.[2][12]
ASMR video creators, known as ASMR artists, were interviewed and described the ASMR community, ASMR
videos and the intended audience for these videos.[29]
The fact that ASMR is used for relaxation and not sex3 Media coverage
ual arousal was also addressed.[30] News anchor Cristina
Mendonsa reported on the ASMR whisper community by
A conference in the UK (Boring 2012) included ASMR
showing samples of ASMR videos and interviews with the
videos on its list of discussion topics. Coverage of
video creators as well as the expert opinions from medthis conference, as reported in Slate magazine, menical professionals.[31] Mendonsa also created an ASMR
tioned musician and journalist Rhodri Marsden introvideo by guiding a whispered tour of the News10 studio
ducing ASMR (alternatively called Auto-Sensory Meridand newsroom.[32]
ian Response) as a type of nonsexual role-playing video
on YouTube.[18][19] Articles in The Hungton Post sug- American evening news program ABC World News aired
gest certain triggers for ASMR.[7][8] The articles men- a segment on the sleep aid potential of ASMR featuring
tion pleasant tingling or buzzing sensations felt in the an interview with video creator Ilse Blansert.[33]
head and state that triggers such as the YouTube videos In 2014, The Washington Post addressed the ASMR trend
or hearing people whispering can stimulate the sensa- on YouTube: If you experience the intended eect, the
tion. Other triggers may include goal-oriented tasks, soft- sense of depth can be dazzling. If you don't, its like starspeaking, role-playing, and music. ASMR was men- ing at an uninspired Jackson Pollock knocko.[3]
tioned in a Kotaku article stating that the phenomenon is
similar to binaural beats in that certain sensory triggers, In 2015, Nick Messitte published a two part artiincluding whispering, stimulate sensations of tingling and cle on on scal trends relating to the
A post in the British music magazine New Musical Express made distinctions between ASMR and frisson, noting that although both responses tend to evoke goose
bumps in the observer, the emotional and physiological
responses are dierent.[21] Ohio State University School
of Music professor David Huron claimed ASMR and
cold chill to be dierent, describing the ASMR eect as
clearly strongly related to the perception of non-threat
and altruistic attention", and noting a strong similarity to
physical grooming in primates. Nonhuman primates derive signicant pleasure from being groomed, and Huron
states that they groom each other not to get clean, but to

4 Scientic reactions
Steven Novella, Director of General Neurology at the
Yale School of Medicine and active contributor to topics
involving scientic skepticism, wrote in his neuroscience
blog about the lack of scientic investigation on ASMR,
saying that functional magnetic resonance imaging and
transcranial magnetic stimulation technologies should be
used to study the brains of people who experience ASMR
in comparison to people who do not experience ASMR.

He also suggests the possibility of ASMR being a type of
pleasurable seizure or another way to activate the pleasure

[3] Gibson, Caitlin (15 December 2014). A whisper, then

tingles, then 87 million YouTube views: Meet the star of
ASMR. The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 March 2015.

Dr. Tom Staord, a lecturer in psychology and cognitive

sciences from the University of Sheeld, was quoted in
The Independent, saying,[1]

[4] Woolf, Virginia (2007) [1925]. Mrs Dalloway. The Selected Works of Virginia Woolf. Hogarth Press. p. 141.
ISBN 978-1-84022-558-7.

It might well be a real thing, but its inherently dicult to research. The inner experience is the point of a lot of psychological investigation, but when you've got something like
this that you can't see or feel, and it doesn't happen for everyone, it falls into a blind spot. Its
like synaesthesia for years it was a myth, then
in the 1990s people came up with a reliable way
of measuring it.
According to neurologist Edward J. O'Connor in the
Santa Monica College newspaper The Corsair, an obstacle to accurately researching the ASMR phenomenon is
that there may be no single stimulus which triggers ASMR
for all individuals.[36]

[5] Simons, Hadlee (16 August 2012). An orgasm for your

head?". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
[6] Mitchell, Jennifer (4 September 2012). Latest Social
Media Craze: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
[7] Shropshall, Claire (6 September 2012). Braingasms and
Towel Folding: The ASMR Eect. The Hungton Post.
Retrieved 28 November 2012.
[8] Tufnell, Nicholas (27 February 2012). ASMR: Orgasms
for Your Brain. The Hungton Post. Retrieved 28
November 2012.
[9] Lively, Daniel (19 April 2012). That Tingling Feeling:
First International ASMR Day. The Corvallis Advocate.
Retrieved 14 February 2013.

Sleep specialist Dr. Amer Khan of the Sutter Neuroscience Institute advised that using ASMR videos as a [10] asmr0921.
sleep aid may not be the best method for quality sleep [11] Maslen, Hannah; Roache, Rebecca (30 July 2015).
and said they may become a habit similar to using a
ASMR and Absurdity. Practical Ethics. University of
white noise machine or a baby using a pacier for falling
Oxford. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Yasinski supports the legitimacy
of ASMR and claims it is similar to meditation since individuals, through focus and relaxation, may shut down
parts of the brain responsible for stress and anxiety.[37]

[12] Hudelson, Joshua (10 December 2012). Listening to

Whisperers: Performance, ASMR Community and Fetish
on YouTube. Sound Studies Blog. Retrieved 13 February
[13] ASMR Videos - Soothing or Creepy?". The Young Turks.

There is a lack of scientic evidence that ASMR has any 17 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February
general benets or harms. Any claimed benets are based
on anecdotes (personal accounts of individual perception), not on clinical trials that provide data from which [14] Carver, Matt Phil (20 March 2013). Will a whisper make
you tingle? Meet the ASMR experts. Gay Star News.
general ecacy and safety can be shown.[12][25][26]
Retrieved 26 March 2013.

See also
Music therapy
Stimulus modality


[1] Marsden, Rhodri (21 July 2012). "'Maria spends 20 minutes folding towels: Why millions are mesmerised by
ASMR videos. The Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
[2] Cheadle, Harry (31 July 2012). ASMR, the Good Feeling No One Can Explain. Retrieved 2 December 2012.

[15] Green-Oliver, Heather (9 April 2013). I have ASMR,

do you? A national day for a tingly feeling? You bet.
Northern Life. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
[16] ASMR Triggers Common ASMR triggers that cause
tingles. The ASMR Lab. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
[17] Collins, Sean T (10 September 2012). Why Music Gives
You The Chills. BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
[18] Parsons, Chris (21 November 2012). "'Boring 2012' conference becomes complete sell-out. Yahoo! News. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
[19] O'Connell, Mark (27 November 2012). Surprisingly Interesting. Slate. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
[20] Hernandez, Patricia (28 November 2012). This Drug Is
Legal. Its Digital. And Its Supposed To Improve How
You Game. I Put It To The Test. Kotaku. Retrieved 19
January 2013.

[21] Jones, Lucy (12 September 2012). Which Moments In

Songs Give You Chills?". NME. Retrieved 23 December
[22] Horning, Rob (5 October 2012). Radio ASMR. The
New Inquiry. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
[23] "(Auto Sensory Meridian Response) hit tingles with @autodespair 8:00pm. 5 October
2012. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
[24] Seigel, Andrea (29 March 2013). A Tribe Called Rest.
This American Life. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
[25] O'Connell, Mark (12 February 2013). The Soft Bulletins. Slate. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
[26] Manduley, Aida (February 2013).
Intimate With
Strangers. #24MAG 1 (4): 6061. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
[27] Overton, Emma (22 October 2012). That Funny Feeling. The McGill Daily. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
[28] Leland, Andrew (25 November 2014). Episode 36: Aural Fixation. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
[29] Iqbal, Maneeza (6 May 2013). Q&A: What are ASMR
videos and how do they help people relax.
Retrieved 9 May 2013.
[30] Iqbal, Maneeza (6 May 2013). ASMR artists: Videos
not for sex, but for relaxation. Retrieved 9
May 2013.
[31] Mendonsa, Cristina (6 May 2013). ASMR: The sound
that massages your brain. Retrieved 8 May
[32] Mendonsa, Cristina (6 May 2013). ASMR Video:
Anchor Cristina Mendonsas whisper tour of News10. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
[33] Sawyer, Diane; Davis, Linsey; Blansert, Ilse; Hansen,
Emily (25 February 2014). The Sleep Whisperer Can Help
You Get to Sleep. ABC News (Video). Retrieved 4 April
[34] Messitte, Nick (31 March 2015). Is There Any Money
To Be Made In ASMR?". Forbes. Retrieved 19 October
[35] Novella, Steven (12 March 2012). ASMR. NeuroLogica. New England Skeptical Society. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
[36] Arias, Luis (16 April 2013). A new trend in relaxation.
The Corsair. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
[37] Hockridge, Stephanie (16 May 2013). ASMR Whisper
Therapy: Does it work? Relaxing, healing with sounds
and a whisper. Retrieved 28 July 2013.


7 Further reading
Ahuja, Nitin K. (Summer 2013).
"'It Feels
Good to Be Measured': Clinical Role-Play,
Walker Percy, and the Tingles. Perspectives
in Biology and Medicine 56 (3): 442451.
Andersen, Joceline (November 2014).
You've Got the Shiveries: Aect, Intimacy, and the
ASMR Whisper Community. Television & New
Media. doi:10.1177/1527476414556184.
Barratt, Emma L.; Davis, Nick J. (March 2015).
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
(ASMR): a ow-like mental state. PeerJ 3.
851. doi:10.7717/peerj.851.
Young, Julie; Blansert, Ilse (May 2015). ASMR. Idiots Guides. Alpha. ISBN 978-1-61564-818-4.

8 External links
ASMR University
ASMR FM Newest videos from the global ASMR
WhisperFinder Directory of ASMR recordings indexed by tags
ASMR Subreddit

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