Andrew Smith is an undergraduate student at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at The University of Dundee, Scotland.
He focused his final year dissertation project on ASMR to fulfill the requirements for his Bachelor of Design degree (with Honors).
Andrew’s completed dissertation was 47 pages (~10,000 words), was titled, “An investigation into the interconnected nature of aesthetics, sensory perception and sensory phenomena” and weaved together the following topics:
- The Golden Rectangle (a shape linked to art, design, and architecture)
- Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (a therapy for trauma patients)
- Brain Wave States, Hypnosis, & REM, Sleep
- Brain Default Mode Network & Synaesthesia
- Interpersonal bonding
- Senses, Sensory Processing Disorder, & Autism
ASMR and hypnosis have a lot of similarities.
The process for both can involve eye gazing, soft and almost monotonous vocal tones, methodical sounds, significant trust, and rhythmic movements of hands or objects.
The outcome for both involves being relaxed. ASMR is a lower level state of relaxation and hypnosis is a deeper state of relaxation.
The person inducing the relaxation in both situations is often a real or simulated expert, giving focused one-on-one attention, with a trustworthy disposition and a non-threatening nature.
Overall, it would seem likely that anything known about the biology of hypnosis may be relevant to the biology of ASMR.
So what is known about the biology of hypnosis?
A recently published article highlights one molecule that is probably involved in hypnosis, and it is a molecule that I have also theorized is central to ASMR (see my Origin Theory of ASMR for full details).
The title of the article reveals the molecule, “Hypnosis, attachment, and oxytocin”.