It is likely that ASMR has health benefits for people struggling with stress, poor sleep, low moods, and other conditions.
Perhaps you have benefited from ASMR and wonder why more health professionals aren’t advocating ASMR to their clients and patients?
The answer is simple. Health professionals are waiting for more research studies about ASMR to be published and you can help. Even though you may not be a researcher, you can help to accelerate ASMR research by supporting it.
You may have heard that ASMR can reduce your heart rate. This groundbreaking research was done by Dr. Giulia Poerio and her team at the University of Essex, UK – providing the first direct physiological evidence of the relaxing effects of ASMR.
Now, Dr. Poerio and her team want to establish an ASMR network of scientists, experts, and the ASMR community. This project will create a prioritized list of ASMR research questions that will drive future core research about the biology and health effects of ASMR.
Establishing this ASMR Network does require a small foundation of financial support to get it going, and you can help.
Ready to help? Jump right to this site to learn more, watch a video from Dr. Poerio, and/or donate: https://crowd.science/campaigns/asmrnet-establishing-a-global-research-network-and-prioritised-agenda-for-asmr/
Or, keep reading for a personal message from Dr. Poerio.
Angelica Succi is a post-graduate Erasmus trainee at the University of Essex (UK), Department of Psychology.
She is investigating the correlations between emotional experiences, sensory sensitivity, perception, and ASMR.
Her research project is titled: “Physiological and self-reported correlates of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)”.
Angelica’s advisors for the study are Dr. Helge Gillmeister and Dr Giulia Poerio. Dr Poerio published the first heart rate study about ASMR in 2018.
Angelica is looking for participants to take her online survey, which has been reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Essex.
Josephine Flockton is a master’s graduate, specializing in neuroscience and neuroimaging from the University of York, England, and is pursuing a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.
This survey will gather invaluable pilot data about individuals’ experiences of ASMR and its potential therapeutic benefits, to support the rationale of her PhD research and invite further study.
Her PhD research thesis aims to be the first to explore what happens in the brain during an ASMR experience using the neuroimaging technique of magnetoencephalography (MEG), to further our understanding of the phenomenon and its relation to pain circuits in the brain.
Gina Gilpin is a graduate student, pursuing an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London (UCL), England.
Her research thesis is investigating the personality and empathy traits of individuals who experience ASMR, frisson (e.g., music chills) and mirror-touch synaesthesia.
Her thesis is titled: “Investigating Various Atypical Multisensory Experiences and the Associated Personality and Empathy Traits.” Gina’s faculty advisor for the study is Professor Sophie Scott, Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL.
Gina is looking for participants to take her online survey, which has been reviewed and approved by an Ethics Committee. The only requirements for the survey are that you must be right-handed, English speaking, and over 18 years old.
Dr Giulia Poerio (an established ASMR researcher) is the Lead supervisor for this position at the Department of Psychology, University of Essex, UK.
This is an exciting opportunity for a young scientist interested in being a pioneer of ASMR research.
I’ve copied and pasted a lot of details below from the position posting; such as, criteria, funding, application deadline, start date, duration, project overview, and a link to apply.
Jemma Frost and Safiyya Mank are undergraduate psychology students at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England.
Their dissertation project is titled, “An investigation into ASMR immunity” and they are seeking participants who are 18 years or older for this study (eligible participants must have experienced ASMR and immunity to ASMR).
Participants will access an online survey, watch an ASMR video, and answer questions about their ability to experience ASMR and their experiences of ASMR immunity.
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?
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.
Melina Delanghe is a graduate student at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Brussels, Belgium. She is pursuing her Master’s Degree in psychology in the Department of Biological & Cognitive Psychology.
For her Master’s Thesis, she decided to do an ASMR research project with Dr. Elke Van Hoof as her faculty advisor.
She investigated the ability of ASMR videos to affect the heart rates of individuals diagnosed as Highly Sensitive Persons and also in a control group.