Giulia Poerio, Theresa Veltri, Emma Blakey, and Tom Hostler are graduate students in the Department of Psychology at The University of Sheffield in the U.K.
They have combined their expertise in psychology, physiology, and emotion to investigate the idiosyncratic characteristics of ASMR.
The research group shares their motivations and several unanticipated challenges and reactions that have occurred thus far with their project.
Below are my questions in bold, followed by their replies in italics.
How did you become inspired to do a research project on ASMR?
Sheffield Group, “We all experience ASMR in some form or another, but when we started to discuss the topic amongst ourselves we realised that there was little to no previous research on the topic.
Being scientists and PhD students we thought that this would be an excellent project to provide scientific evidence documenting that brain tingles exist and that ASMR is not just a subjective experience.”
What challenges did you encounter with your project?
Sheffield Group, “We found that selecting videos was very difficult because ASMR triggers are idiosyncratic. For example, when the four of us piloted the study some found the videos triggering, but others did not.
Also, it was difficult to make sure that we had a good range of videos; we wanted to have videos with both males and females as well soft spoken and sound-only videos. We also wanted to ensure that the videos didn’t include anyone’s face so that ASMRtists couldn’t be identified.
Selecting neutral (non ASMR) videos was even more challenging! Finding videos that were similar to the ASMR videos but wouldn’t induce ASMR was very difficult. We still need to analyse the data to determine whether the neutral videos did or did not induce ASMR in our respondents.”
Any interesting responses or reactions to your survey so far?
Sheffield Group, “Overall, the response has been fantastic and many people have contacted us and said that they appreciate us conducting research into ASMR, which is very encouraging!
From the individual responses that we’ve had so far, we’ve stared to realise just how diverse people’s experiences of ASMR can be – including the possible negative impact that ASMR might have on some people, which is something that we had not thought about before.”
What advice would you give to other researchers interested in ASMR?
Sheffield Group, “If you are trying to get a balanced sample of ASMR and non-ASMR experiencers then it can be difficult because non-experiencers are less likely to take the survey and probably find it a bit weird!
Also, you have to really encourage those who don’t know about ASMR to take part in your research because these are the people who might have naive but interesting views on ASMR.”
Although their on-line survey is currently closed, they are looking for individuals to participate in-person for a laboratory study of ASMR responders and non-responders. Their laboratory is located in Sheffield, UK and they can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click HERE to learn more about the Sheffield Research Group and their ASMR research projects.
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