The science of ASMR from a BBC article

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityAn article about ASMR was posted yesterday at BBC.com.

The article focuses mostly on ASMR artists (Emma whispersredasmr, Maria gentlewhispering, & Laura Stone) and the art of ASMR, with some minor mentions related to the science of ASMR.

A neuroscience professor provided his thoughts about the mechanism of ASMR.  Quote from the article:

“Frances McGlone, professor of neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University. I contacted him because I hoped he might be able to explain the mechanism which produces such a distinctive physical reaction from such a diverse range of stimuli. He couldn’t, because no-one has researched the question. “In a quick look on the more respected search engines for published scientific research I couldn’t find anything that supported a neurobiological basis for why these sensory experiences should be provoked by observing these ASMR videos,” he tells me.

McGlone further expressed concern about home-brewed alternative therapies in general and a potential erotic element of ASMR.  Quote from the article:

“But he is profoundly sceptical of their use as a kind of home-brewed alternative therapy: “What worries me is susceptible individuals who want to believe this kind of thing because they really have problems and need some kind of psychological help – that is where I get a little bit annoyed, because people can be led up the garden path by techniques that clearly are snake oil, and do not and will not provide any long term benefit for an underlying condition.”

He also points out that most of these videos are presented by attractive-looking women, perhaps implying that there may be an erotic element in their appeal. And indeed, some have tried to promote the term “braingasm” as an alternative name for ASMR. On the other hand, the sensation, though undeniably pleasurable, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with sex.”

There was a part of the article that seemed clearly incorrect.

 “The initials stand for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It sounds a vaguely scientific term, though there’s no science behind it and it’s not clear who coined it.”

This is the first article or resource I have seen to state that it is not clear who coined ASMR.  Every other resource I’ve seen agrees that it was Jennifer Allen in 2010.

There are some additional concerns about the content of this article being voiced at the ASMR subreddit.

Click HERE to read the full BBC article.

Click HERE to read the concerns being expressed about this article on Reddit.com.

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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.

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