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.
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.
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.
Anders 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.
Beverley 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.
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.
A peer-reviewed research study is the first to report physiological changes while individuals experience ASMR.
The publication is titled, “More than a feeling: ASMR is characterized by reliable changes in affect and physiology” and is authored by Giulia Lara Poerio, Emma Blakey, and Theresa Veltri from the University of Sheffield (UK) and Thomas Hostler from the Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). The research was published June 20, 2018 in the journal PLOS ONE.
The publication reported the results of two studies. The first study involved about 1000 participants watching videos and reporting how they felt. The second study involved about 100 participants watching videos, reporting how they felt, and having some physiological responses measured.
I will first summarize the methods and results of the first study, then summarize the methods and results of the second study.
Vladimir Fedoseev is 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 is investigating the involvement of ASMR in the service industry and is titled, “Effect of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) on Service User Experience”
This is an interesting topic. How do the caring dispositions, light touches, hand movements, and personal attention from hairdressers, servers, and hotel staff affect our experience (and perhaps the tips)? Does being able to experience ASMR influence these interactions?
You can take his survey (link below) to share your experiences and perspectives.