Abby Lee Hood is a Nashville-based freelance writer who recently wrote a terrific article for MTV news titled, “ASMR IS NORMALIZING CONSENT, ONE WHISPER AT A TIME.”
Her article highlights how consent not only applies to romantic and non-romantic relationships, but also to ASMR. Consent is an important part of ASMR role-play videos and real world ASMR sessions because feeling safe and at ease is probably critical to the relaxing feeling of ASMR.
Abby Lee cites data in the article about consent and ASMR which was collected by MTV from over 100 participants. She has shared the data with me and given me permission to share it here. Most of the responses focus on ASMR videos, but the incorporation of consent would also be very relevant to live or person-to-person ASMR sessions.
Below are the data from the MTV survey, followed by links to her article and her website.
Thomas Swart is a postgraduate student, pursuing his PhD in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.
His research thesis is investigating the neurotransmitters, brain regions, and neural mechanisms that drive ASMR. In order to do this he aims to initially validate the presence of ASMR in individuals via an online questionnaire rather than solely relying on self-reported measures.
His thesis is titled: “Explaining Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response”, and his faculty advisor for the study is Dr. Michael Banissy, Professor of Psychology and Co-Head of Department at Goldsmiths University. Dr Banissy has co-authored two prior published studies about ASMR.
Thomas is looking for participants to take his online survey, which has been reviewed and approved by an Ethics Committee. The survey is open to everyone who is 18 or older, regardless if you do or don’t experience ASMR. The survey is fully anonymous (GDPR-compliant), will take 30-40 minutes to complete, and the results will only be used for academic purposes.
The survey will remain open until sufficient responses enable a further revision of the questionnaire to more accurately validate the presence of ASMR in an individual.
Below is a link to the survey and more info.
Elena Jdanova was born in Moscow, Russia (USSR back then), graduated from Moscow State University with a B.S. Degree in paleontology, and now resides in California, USA.
Her resume already includes experiences as an Indian dance instructor, ceramicist, massage therapist, and an author of two books.
Now, at the age of 62 years and as a loving grandmother to a couple of grandchildren, Elena has decided to start a new journey – she is creating ASMR videos on her new YouTube channel called Grandmother’s Tales.
So what do you get when you combine a Russian grandmother and an ASMR content creator? Someone who has a lifelong understanding of positive personal attention (also called “doting” in grandmother-speak) and communicates it with a delightful Russian accent.
In my interview with Elena she explains her inspiration to create ASMR videos, how being a grandmother influences her content, her challenges encountered so far with creating ASMR videos, and reactions to her videos from family, friends, and strangers.
Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and links to her ASMR video channel, gardening video channel, and published books.
Whisperlodge is a live, in-person, theatrical, and totally immersive experience for ASMR lovers.
They only have a few events in specific locations throughout the year, and one of those is upcoming.
Whisperlodge will be at Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California from March 13 – 17, 2019.
Here is more information they shared with me so you can learn more about their ASMR experience.
Anthony El-Chaar is a graduate student, pursuing an M.A. in media studies at Notre Dame University in Lebanon.
His research thesis is investigating the experiences and motivations of watching ASMR videos. The thesis is titled: “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response: What is the Phenomenon Behind the Tingling Sensation?” His faculty advisor for the study is Dr. Jessica El-Khoury, Assistant Professor at Notre Dame University.
Anthony is looking for participants to take his online survey. The survey is open to individuals who watch ASMR videos. The survey is fully anonymous and the results will only be used for academic purposes. The survey will take 10 minutes maximum to complete.
The survey will remain open until 300 participants have participated.
Below is a link to the survey and more info.
ASMR made it to the Super Bowl.
On Feb 3, 2019, an ASMR commercial featuring Zoe Kravitz and Michelob Ultra Pure Gold played during the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl.
In full disclosure, I was the ASMR consultant for the past couple of months to the creative and production teams behind the commercial. These individuals truly wanted to understand ASMR and represent it appropriately in the commercial – and I think they did a fantastic job, as do some ASMR artists.
The ASMR artist, Somni Rosae, sent me the following email:
“Hi Dr. Richard! Have you seen the new beer ad for the Super Bowl? Personally, I think this is the first ad I think the advertising agencies got it right. Cheers, Somni”
“I thought it was awesome. They hit the nail on the head. You can tell they did their research: They had the binaural microphones, had her whispering back and forth. They had tapping, nice sounds. They definitely watched content and had done their research on what ASMR is supposed to be. They, of course, blew it up, made it Hollywood, used a big budget, and so it was very cool. They were accurate.”
The video is currently posted on the YouTube channel for Michelob Ultra (it is the most viewed video on the channel) and contains positive comments from additional ASMR artists like ASMR Darling, fastASMR, Karuna Satori ASMR, The ASMR Ryan, ASMR Destiny, Holly ASMR, and Tyson ASMR.
My favorite article about the commercial was by Dr William Halligan, a dentist in San Diego who saw it and asked, “what in the world was this?” Dr Halligan then went searching about ASMR and even strapped a heart rate monitor on himself to see his physiological response to ASMR videos.
The Super Bowl commercial is linked below and here are some of the key ASMR elements to watch for:
In this podcast episode, you will hear participants in the Voices of ASMR project explain the following about their ASMR experiences:
What triggers ASMR for you when you are watching a video, include details like:
- Are you triggered by voices? sounds? sights?
- Which of the above trigger types is the strongest for you?
- Can you experience ASMR by listening to a video with the screen off?
- What specific actions, sounds, scenarios, or role-plays in a video stimulate your ASMR the strongest?
- Do your immediate surroundings make a difference to your ability to experience ASMR from a video?
- Do you prefer intentional ASMR videos or unintentional ASMR videos?
- Who are your favorite ASMR artists and why do you like them better than other artists?
- For you, is the ASMR stimulated by a video similar or different from the ASMR stimulated by a real world situation?
Subscribe (free) to the ASMR University Podcast to hear all of the past and future episodes or listen to this one episode right here:
Pa Chee Yang is an undergraduate student majoring in Applied Social Science with a concentration in Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
She decided to investigate some associations between ASMR and student studying for his Applied Social Science Capstone research project. Her advisor was Dr Zach Raff and her Capstone project was titled, “How ASMR affects student study.”
Pa Chee recruited 98 local students for her study and inquired about ASMR experiences, GPA, introversion, caffeine use, sleep difficulties, stress levels, and music habits.
In my interview with Pa Chee she explains her inspiration, goals, methods, and the results of her study. She also provides tips for other students researching ASMR.
Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and links to her complete Capstone project, as well as, a presentation file summarizing her project.
Eleanor Osborne-Ford is an undergraduate student, majoring in psychology, and pursuing her BSc Degree at Bath Spa University in the UK.
Her dissertation is investigating the relationship of ASMR and mindfulness and is titled, “Investigation into traits of absorption, mindfulness and state of flow in individuals who experience ASMR and controls.” Dr Agnieszka Janik McErlean, an established ASMR researcher, is her mentor for this study (see HERE for publications).
Eleanor is looking for individuals to take her online survey. The survey is open to individuals who do or do not experience ASMR, and who are aged 18 and over up to 35 years old. The survey is anonymous and should take about 20 minutes maximum.
The survey will remain open until 200 individuals have participated.
Below is a link to the online survey and more info.
I’m happy to share that I am one of the co-authors of the first published study to show brain activity during ASMR.
The study is titled, “An fMRI investigation of the neural correlates underlying the ASMR” and was published by Bryson Lochte, Sean Guillory, Craig Richard, and William Kelley in the journal BioImpacts on September 23, 2018.
One of the biggest questions about ASMR is, “What is happening in the brain?” Although this study doesn’t fully answer that question, it is the first data to provide some direct insights.
Participants quietly layed down in fMRI machines, watched ASMR videos, and their brains were scanned during moments of brain tingling – and then those brain images were compared to moments without brain tingling.
The brain regions that were strongly activated during ASMR were similar to those regions activated when humans, and other animals, perform soothing social behaviors – known as affiliative behaviors. Typical examples of affiliative behaviors include calmly sitting close to each other, touching each other gently, and mutual grooming.
So how exactly was this study done?