Daniella 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.