“Brain Tingles”, the first how-to guide for stimulating person-to-person ASMR

I’m happy to share that my book “Brain Tingles” has recently been published by Simon & Schuster and is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The focus of the book is to help individuals learn the types and key principles of ASMR triggers for stimulating person-to-person ASMR.  The book covers how to use light touch, gentle sounds, soothing voices, and calming activities to bring the blissfulness of ASMR to people in your life.

The book is also filled with quotes from ASMR artists, quotes from those who experience ASMR, and references to ASMR research findings –  tying together the practice, experience, application, science, and hypotheses about ASMR.

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Graduate student completes research study about the role of ASMR in the service industry

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian ResponseI posted a prior article titled, “Participate in a research study about the role of ASMR in the service industry.

Good news, the research study is completed and some results are now available.

The researcher was Vladimir Fedoseev, a graduate student pursuing his MBA at the Varna University of Management in Varna, Bulgaria (a partner university of Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales).

His dissertation focused on the involvement of ASMR in the service industry and is titled, “Effect of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) on Service User Experience”

He investigated how ASMR triggers, like soft speech, gentle sounds, careful hand movements, light touch, personal attention, and kind personalities, might effect experiences with hairdressers, doctors, hotel clerks, and others in the service industry.

In this second interview with Vladimir he reviews the details of his methods and shares some results of his research project.

One curious observation I noticed in his results is that gentle sounds, soft speech, and personal attention were the top triggers perceived by participants to cause ASMR in services, but the services with increasing reliance of light touch (like a hairdresser) showed increasing likelihood of stimulating ASMR.  This could imply that light touch is a stronger contributor in service-mediated ASMR than the participants realized.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and links to learn more about his research project.

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Undergraduate student investigates psychoacoustics of ASMR trigger sounds

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityAnders Köhler recently graduated from the University of Skövde in Sweden with a Degree of Bachelor of Arts and majored in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration (Game Development – Sound).

His examination project investigated the psychoacoustic properties of ASMR sounds and was titled, “A study of scratching sounds within ASMR in a neutral sound environment.”

Anders’ goal was to try to find  patterns and properties in ASMR trigger sounds.  This is a terrific quest.  What is special about crinkling, tapping, whispering, and scratching sounds that make them so blissful and delightful to ASMR enthusiasts?

He focused his project on scratching sounds and utilized state-of-the-art tools and methods to dissect the sound profiles.

In my interview with Anders he explains his goals, research design, and shares a table of his data with a full explanation of what he discovered in his project.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and links to his study, a video summary, and his Facebook page.

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Published research study examines how expectations can affect ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityDaniella Cash, Laura Heisick, and Megan Papesh from Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, LA have published a research study about expectations and ASMR.

The study is titled aptly, “Expectancy effects in the ASMR” and was published August 22, 2018 in the journal PeerJ.

I’m often asked why only some individuals experience ASMR.  The answer is that no one knows.  Yet.  The easiest answer could be that the response is dependent on a specific gene sequence – you either have it or you don’t.

But life is never that simple.

It is believed that experiencing ASMR is more likely to occur while being in a relaxing setting, having a calm mind, selecting a preferred trigger type and style, and even perhaps not being on specific drugs or medications which could interfere with ASMR.

What about the influence of life experiences, culture, or expectations?   Particularly expectations.  Expectations are the magic behind the placebo effect.

Could the placebo effect explain ASMR?  Or what about vice versa?  Maybe ASMR could explain the placebo affect in specific cases?

Visualize a clinician handing you a pill – that is a moment filled with personal attention, caring behaviors, a soft voice, and probably the light touch of their hand on yours, as well as, a reassuring hand on your back as you walk out of their office.

How about meeting with a therapist on a regular basis?  A weekly dose of hyper-focused personal attention from a trained expert with a soft and steady voice – that is an ASMR recipe.  If therapy sessions help you feel calmer, then is it the wisdom, the insights, the ASMR, or all of that which bring you serenity?

In this study, the authors investigated if expectations can affect ASMR – an important question indeed.

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Published research study about mindfulness and ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityBeverley Fredborg, James Clark, and Stephen Smith have published another ASMR research study titled, “Mindfulness and ASMR.”  The study was published August 7, 2018 in PeerJ.

The goal of this study was to investigate the potential relationships between ASMR and mindfulness.

In their introduction, they provide these descriptions of mindfulness:

  • “…a two-component process by which one engages in both intentional self-regulation of attention and a nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance of the present moment.”
  • “…involves an openness to sensations, attentional control, emotional regulation, and resilience.”

The authors then highlight the similarities between mindfulness and ASMR:

  • “…the focused attention method of mindfulness meditation requires individuals to focus on a specific external stimulus or internal thought…During ASMR experiences, individuals focus attention on an external stimulus that triggers tingling sensations.”
  • “Both mindfulness and ASMR can lead to a feeling of relaxation that enhances people’s subjective well-being.”

These similarities definitely make one wonder if mindfulness is a form of ASMR, if ASMR is a form of mindfulness, or is there some other relationship?

The authors also teased out more data about ASMR and trigger preferences, age of onset, similarity to music chills, and frequency of using ASMR media to help with relaxation and sleeping.

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Published research study focuses on misophonia and ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityThis is the second ASMR research study published by Dr Agnieszka Janik McErlean (Bath Spa University, UK) and Dr Michael Banissy (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK).

Their prior study was titled, “Assessing individual variation in personality and empathy traits in self-reported ASMR” and was published March 30, 2017 in the journal Multisensory Research.

Their latest study is titled, “Increased misophonia in self-reported ASMR” and was published August 6, 2018 in the journal PeerJ.

Misophonia is common in discussions about ASMR because some people greatly enjoy ASMR trigger sounds like whispering, mouth sounds, and chewing but others will respond to those same sounds with annoyance, anger, or anxiety (misophonia).

Curiously, some people who report experiencing ASMR to some triggers also report experiencing misophonia to other triggers.  This hyper-sensitivity to sounds has people often wondering if people who experience ASMR are more likely to also experience misophonia.

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Jimmy Kimmel features ASMR on late night talk show

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityJimmy Kimmel explored the curious world of ASMR videos – with the help of kids.

This week, his late night show on ABC featured a 5 minute segment of him talking to kids about ASMR.  The kids explained ASMR and they watched ASMR videos together.

I thought the kids did a great job of explaining ASMR, with enjoyable moments of amusement between the host and the kids.

I’ve added Jimmy Kimmel to my growing list below of almost 50 actors, musicians, and other well know individuals who have discussed ASMR or attempted to create ASMR triggers.

Scroll down the list below and tap on Jimmy Kimmel’s name to watch his funny ASMR round table with the kids, and tap any of the other famous names to see how they are exploring ASMR.

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Renee Frances publishes the first ASMR-inspired children’s book

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityRenee Frances is a children’s book author who has written the first children’s picture book to incorporate ASMR, titled “Avery Sleeps More Readily: A whispered Good Night Fairy book.”

Incorporating ASMR triggers into the content and process of reading a child a bedtime story is a fantastic idea.   Common ASMR triggers like personal attention, whispering, soft voices, light touch, picture tracing, gentle hand movements, page turning, and caring behaviors are typical stimuli that can occur when a parent or caretaker reads a child a bedtime story.

It is even possible that the origins of ASMR are rooted in most caring behaviors that happen between children and their caretakers.  Renee’s book not only reminds readers about incorporating these soothing behaviors at bedtime, but provides optimal techniques and content to help readers lull a child to sleep with a bedtime story.

The illustrations are beautifully done by Romaine Tacey and I was provided the great honor of writing the foreword.  The book will be available on Amazon on August 8, 2018, but in the meantime you can access a digital copy via the link at the end of this article.

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Voices of ASMR: What triggers ASMR in the real world? (podcast episode #15)

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityIn this podcast episode, you will hear participants in the Voices of ASMR project explain the following about their ASMR experiences:

  • What real world situations trigger your ASMR the strongest?
  • Do your immediate surroundings make a difference?
  • Is the sensation similar or different from ASMR triggered by a video or audio recording?

Subscribe to the ASMR University Podcast to hear all of the past and future episodes or listen to this one episode right here:

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Graduate student completes research study about the body map of ASMR sensations

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityJack Stevenson-Smith completed his Masters degree 2 years ago in the School of Psychology at the The University of Liverpool, UK.

He focused his Master’s research dissertation on ASMR and it was titled, “Bodily maps of novel somatosensation: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)”

In my interview with Jack he shares the inspiration for his research, his aims, hypotheses, and methods, the challenges he encountered, some great tips for other ASMR researchers, and his special moment with Dmitri, the ASMR artist known as massageASMR.

Below are my questions in bold and his replies in italics.

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