Damiana Conti is a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Science degree in the Department of Psychology at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy.
She focused her dissertation project on analyzing the subjective feelings and objective skin conductance responses to ASMR videos.
An increase in skin conductance is a measure of increased physiological arousal, like excitement or alertness. ASMR is usually thought of as a state of relaxation with decreased arousal, although there are several reports that suggest ASMR has a slight increased level of physiological arousal to it.
Below are a summary of her methods, some of her exciting data, and a link to her completed dissertation.
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.
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.
Jack 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.
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.
Helle Breth Klausen is pursuing her Ph.D. from the Department of Media and Journalism studies at Aarhus University in Denmark.
For her PhD dissertation she will be characterizing ASMR through the experiences of ASMR video viewers.
In my interview with Helle she shares why she decided to study ASMR, her primary hypothesis and methods, preliminary results she acquired with her Master’s dissertation, and her plans to share the results from this project.
Marcus Nystrand is an undergraduate student in the Visual Communications program at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden.
For his graduation project he decided to create videos with synthetic ASMR triggers and survey if they are able to stimulate ASMR in viewers.
What are “synthetic ASMR triggers?” Marcus created computer-generated animations that have some properties of ASMR triggers (e.g., movements, sounds) but without the presence of human forms (e.g., hands) or human objects (e.g., brushes).
In short, his project is asking, “Can non-human motions, items, and sounds trigger ASMR?”
His animations are extremely high quality, very imaginative, and deeply mesmerizing. Will they trigger your ASMR?
Read on to learn a bit more about his project, then click the link to view his amazing videos and answer his short survey questions.