I initially reported about this published study on November 1, 2017, but this article will now share more details and summarize the data.
The study is titled, “Sensory determinants of the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR): understanding the triggers” and was published October 6, 2017 in PeerJ by Emma Barratt, Charles Spence, and Nick Davis.
Of historical note, Barratt and Davis were the co-authors of the first ASMR research study published in 2015. In this new study they investigate some of the traits of ASMR triggers.
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.
Emma Barrett and Nick Davis actually proposed a body map of the ASMR sensation in their 2015 research paper.
They created the image of the body map from the data gathered in their survey. The image shows that the strongest ASMR sensations were in the head, spine, and shoulders – and got weaker with distance from the head.
Their image of the ASMR sensation is almost identical to body map images in a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal titled, “Topography of social touching depends on emotional bonds between humans.”
SensorAdi (his online identity, not his real name) is an ASMR artist on YouTube. He has been creating and posting ASMR videos on his channel “SensorAdi ASMR” since 2013.
He has posted over 150 soothing videos of himself painting, making gentle brushing sounds, softly scratching and tapping on wood, walking through leaves, and performing relaxing clinical role-plays.
It is obvious from the comments that most of his YouTube followers find his videos helpful for relaxing and falling asleep. A comment on his most popular video from one viewer reflects the sentiments from most other viewers, “I had to listen to this right before I went to sleep and I am at complete ease and peaceful.”
He told me that one viewer even wrote to him from the hospital to let him know that his videos were helpful to him while he was getting treatment for an infection.
Knowing that his videos are helpful to others is important to SensorAdi, “It is very nice and motivating feeling to me.”
But SensorAdi is not just an ASMR artist, he is also a school teacher in Poland.
He has been teaching High School students (ages 15-19) in his current position for the past 7 years. I asked him what makes him a good teacher and he replied, “I am honest, authentic. I am interested in the issues and problems of students.”
Recently though, SensorAdi has had his own issues and problems.
This is Part 3 of my blog post series on the first peer-reviewed paper about ASMR.
As a refresher, the paper is titled, “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): a flow-like mental state”. It was authored by Emma Barratt and Nick Davis and was published on March 26th, 2015 in the journal PeerJ.
This post is going to focus on the meaning of some of the data, as well as highlight how future studies could build on the helpful foundation provided by the authors of this paper.
This post is mostly for students and researchers looking for ASMR research ideas. Just look for the sections in this post marked “Next steps” for potential ASMR research projects you could do.
Let’s begin by reviewing and understanding the methods and the participants, this will help to keep the overall meaning of the data in an appropriate scope.