Published research study explores ASMR trigger preferences

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityI initially reported about this published study on November 1, 2017, but this article will now share more details and summarize the data.

The study is titled, “Sensory determinants of the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR): understanding the triggers” and was published October 6, 2017 in PeerJ by Emma Barratt, Charles Spence, and Nick Davis.

Of historical note, Barratt and Davis were the co-authors of the first ASMR research study published in 2015.  In this new study they investigate some of the traits of ASMR triggers.

They used an online survey to collect responses from 130 individuals (70% female) self-reporting about their ASMR experiences, preferences, and perceptions.

The following is a summary of some of the data in their published paper:

Experience ASMR:

  • 100% (self reported, study criterion)

Experience misophonia:

  • Yes: 43%
  • No: 40%
  • Unsure: 17%

Trigger duration of favorite online ASMR content:

  • 1-5 min: 38%
  • 6-10 min: 30%
  • 11-20 min: ~15%
  • 21 min or longer: 15%

Optimal number of triggers comfortable focusing on at once:

  • 1 trigger: ~24%
  • 2 triggers: 47%
  • 3 triggers: 15%
  • 4 or more triggers: 13%

Atmosphere rating of favorite ASMR video (1=extremely, 7=not at all):

  • Happy: 2.47
  • Inviting: 2.05
  • Clinical: 4.56
  • Organized: 2.56
  • Relaxed: 1.76
  • Predictable: 3.52
  • Scripted: 4.25
  • Dangerous: 6.73

Undesirable characteristics of an ineffective ASMR video (open comment themes):

  • Obviously scripted content: mentioned by 27%
  • Auditory discomfort: mentioned by 17%
  • Host’s voice: mentioned by 13%
  • Not relaxing: mentioned by 5%
  • Boring: mentioned by 4%

Distance from trigger object for viewing:

  • Smaller actions: < 60 cm
  • Larger actions: 60 cm – 1 m
  • Pouring liquid: up to 2 m

Importance of factors for ASMR triggers:

  • Sounds when manipulated: 51% selected ‘extremely important’
  • Focus on material of object: 13% selected ‘extremely important’
  • Focus on small physical details: 11% selected ‘extremely important’
  • Focus on symmetry: 7% selected ‘extremely important’
  • Color of the object: 2% selected ‘extremely important’

The historical significance of an object increases ASMR:

  • Strongly agreed: 11%
  • Agreed: 23%
  • Neither: 22%
  • Disagreed: 11%
  • Strongly disagreed: 22%

Preference for manipulation of an object:

  • Expert use: significantly favored by more participants
  • Trial and error: significantly favored by less participants

Pitch of trigger sounds affects tingles:

  • Agreed: 77%
  • Disagreed: 10%

Pitch that stimulates stronger tingles:

  • Lower pitched: 56% agreed
  • Higher pitched: 12% agreed

Binaurally-recorded ASMR media:

  • Regularly consumed by 84% of respondents
  • Feel is it more effective than normally-recorded: 58% agreed
  • Makes tingles stronger: 61% agreed

Only objects in view (on screen) can elicit tingles:

  • Disagreed: 65%
  • Agreed: 31%

Addition of background music to ASMR videos:

  • Adds to effectiveness of tingles: 72% disagreed
  • Inhibits strong tingles: 71% agreed

The authors also published supplemental files including the survey wording and the raw data.   The raw data file contains a lot more data collected by their survey which was not in the published paper.

Clicks the links below for related files:

  • Click HERE to read the full published study.
  • Click HERE to access the published supplemental files for this study.
  • Click HERE to access a reorganization of the raw data (my deep gratitude to Carol Luong for the dedication and time she put into reorganizing the raw data into an easier-to-view format).

Click the links below to learn more about ASMR research:

  • Tips: How to be an ASMR researcher.
  • Insight: Interviews with ASMR researchers.
  • Browse: ASMR research and publications.

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

3 thoughts on “Published research study explores ASMR trigger preferences

  1. Pingback: Research publication reports association between ASMR and misophonia | ASMR University

  2. How about individuals such as myself where I haven’t found any triggers that will make it happen spontaneously? But I can “will” it to happen whenever and wherever I want?


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