An article about ASMR recently appeared in the NY Times electronic blog section and in the print version on page D6.
It was a well written article authored by a woman with insomnia who accidentally stumbled on ASMR videos while hoping to find soothing videos of rustling papers.
She explains how she did find some lovely crinkling paper ASMR videos. These videos ended up helping her with her insomnia better than several other prior treatment types.
The article provided a good overview of ASMR and mentioned some top artists like Maria of Gentle Whispering and Heather Feather.
She also talks about how many of the scientists she reached out to were reluctant to talk about ASMR.
But not all.
I was most excited to see that she had contacted Bryson Lochte who had written his senior thesis at Dartmouth College on ASMR.
Bryson is now a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and provided some quotes for the NY Times article.
Although Bryson does not yet disclose his research findings, he does share that his ASMR research focused on the reward pathways of dopamine. Bryson also mentioned a curiosity about the genetic basis for ASMR and how ASMR may affect the body.
Another scientist who has not done ASMR research but has done research on musical frisson mentioned how dopamine is involved with musical frisson.
And yet another scientist in the NY Times article postulates that ASMR may be a subtler version of musical frisson.
Musical frisson and ASMR often get mentioned together because both involve pleasure-related chills in response to stimuli not easily explained by biological mechanisms.
Frisson is a general term for a strong emotion or feeling usually involving a chill, shivers, or goosebumps. The word “frisson” means cold because one of the strongest stimulators of goosebumps in humans is exposure to cold temperature. So musical frisson is the emotional response to music that usually includes getting chills.
Overall, I think the article had a very good balance of explaining the phenomenon of ASMR, the culture of ASMR, and the limited science of ASMR.
It was an accurate current understanding of ASMR.
I hope that a year from now there will be great progress made on how much is understood about ASMR.
Click HERE to read the NY Times article.
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This post brought to you by the ASMR University. A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.