Participate in a research study about ASMR sensitivity

Safiyya Mank is an undergraduate psychology student at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England and also a research assistant for an ASMR project.

Her project is titled, “An investigation into ASMR and sensory sensitivity” and she is seeking participants who are 18 years or older for this study (sensitivity to ASMR triggers is not necessary).

Participants will access an online survey, watch an ASMR video, and answer questions about their ability to experience ASMR and how they normally react to specific sensory stimuli.

The survey has been approved by the University’s ethics committee, shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes, and will collect your replies anonymously.

The results of the study may be published in peer reviewed journals. Participants can obtain a full copy of the results of the research study by contacting the researcher.

She is being supervised by Dr. Thomas Hostler and Dr. Giulia Poerio, who published the first heart rate study about ASMR in 2018.

The survey closes soon, so click the link below to learn more or to participate if you are interested.

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High School student completes study about ASMR and gender

Lucas Simone is a junior at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, California.

For his AP Capstone Research Project, he chose to analyze the associations between gender and aspects of ASMR.

He surveyed over a hundred of his high school peers and collected data about  gender, stress, ASMR video viewing, ASMR feelings, ASMR frequency, and more.

Below are a summary of his methods, some of his data, and a link to his final AP Capstone Research Report.

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Published research study examines the content and comments of ASMR videos

Alexsandra Kovacevich and David Huron at Ohio State University have published a research paper about the content and comments of ASMR videos.

Their paper is titled, “Two Studies of ASMR: The Relationship between ASMR and Music-Induced Frisson” and was published  in Fall 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal, Empirical Musicology Review.

In this paper, the authors report the results of two studies.  The first study analyzed the content of ASMR videos and the second study analyzed comments about ASMR videos.

Below is a summary of their paper, followed by links to the published manuscript, supplementary materials, and a commentary article.

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Participate in a research study about ASMR, intelligence, and personality traits

Toloue Askarirad is a graduate student in the School of Psychology at The University of Adelaide in Australia.

Her research thesis is exploring an association between intelligence, personality traits, and ASMR, and is titled, “Do intelligence and personality traits influence ASMR perception?”

Toloue is looking for participants to take her online survey, which has been reviewed and approved by a Human Research Ethics Subcommittee.  The faculty supervisor of her project is Professor Nick Burns.

The survey is open to individuals who watch ASMR videos, is fully anonymous, will not take longer than 40 minutes, and the results will only be used for academic purposes.

The survey will remain open until 200 participants have participated (or until June 30th, 2019).

Below is a link to the survey and more information.

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Participate in a research study about ASMR experiences

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.

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Participate in a research study about watching ASMR videos

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.

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Participate in a research study about ASMR and mindfulness

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityEleanor 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.

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First published study to show brain activity during ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityI’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?

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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.  Links to this paper and a follow up commentary paper are at the end of this article.

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 could be a part of 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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