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.
In this podcast episode, I will be summarizing the third peer-reviewed research publication about ASMR and sharing an interview with the authors.
The paper is titled, ““An Examination of Personality Traits Associated with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)”)” and was published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology on February 23, 2017. The authors are Beverley Fredborg, Jim Clark, and Stephen Smith from the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.
This podcast episode will cover the following topics:
What are the personality traits associated with ASMR-sensitive individuals?
What are the most intense ASMR triggers?
How they recruited participants and determined ASMR sensitivity.
The focus of their next ASMR research publication.
In this podcast episode, I will be summarizing the second peer-reviewed research publication about ASMR and sharing an interview with the authors.
The paper is titled, “An examination of the default mode network in individuals with autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)” and was published in the journal Social Neuroscience on May 31, 2016. The authors are Stephen Smith, Beverley Fredborg, and Jennifer Kornelsen from the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.
This podcast episode will cover the following topics:
What is fMRI?
What did the experiment reveal about ASMR?
What challenges did they encounter during this project?
Beverley “Bev” Fredborg recently received her B.Sc. degree in Biopsychology from the University of Winnipeg and will soon be starting a Master’s degree program in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
She is currently a research assistant with Dr. Stephen Smith, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Winnipeg.
I initially interviewed this duo in July of 2015 when they began to work together on an ASMR survey project.
And now I am fortunate to do another interview with them about their very recent and exciting ASMR research publication involving fMRI.
Jolien Morren has her Bachelor’s degree in Marine biology and Ecology & Evolution and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Biology and Science Communication and Society at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Jolien also creates ASMR videos for her YouTube channel, RelaxingSounds92, and for her blog, Sepiola.
I was very interested in talking with Jolien about ASMR after reading the subtitle of her blog, “Biologist and science communicator in the making, ASMR YouTuber, blogger”.
I knew she would have some valuable biological, evolutionary, and other related thoughts about ASMR.
In 2015, Emma Barratt and Nick Davis published the first peer-reviewed research study about ASMR. Their data were collected from online surveys and were very helpful to provide support about the sensations and potential applications of ASMR.
Now, Stephen Smith, Beverley Fredborg, and Jennifer Kornelsen from the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada have published the second peer-reviewed research study about ASMR.
A key difference between these two publication is that the more recent publication by Smith et al is the first biological publication about ASMR.