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.
Beverley Fredborg, James Clark, and Stephen Smith have published another ASMR research study titled, “Mindfulness and ASMR.” The study was published August 7, 2018 in PeerJ.
The goal of this study was to investigate the potential relationships between ASMR and mindfulness.
In their introduction, they provide these descriptions of mindfulness:
“…a two-component process by which one engages in both intentional self-regulation of attention and a nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance of the present moment.”
“…involves an openness to sensations, attentional control, emotional regulation, and resilience.”
The authors then highlight the similarities between mindfulness and ASMR:
“…the focused attention method of mindfulness meditation requires individuals to focus on a specific external stimulus or internal thought…During ASMR experiences, individuals focus attention on an external stimulus that triggers tingling sensations.”
“Both mindfulness and ASMR can lead to a feeling of relaxation that enhances people’s subjective well-being.”
These similarities definitely make one wonder if mindfulness is a form of ASMR, if ASMR is a form of mindfulness, or is there some other relationship?
The authors also teased out more data about ASMR and trigger preferences, age of onset, similarity to music chills, and frequency of using ASMR media to help with relaxation and sleeping.
Researchers at the University of Winnipeg in Canada have recently published their second peer-reviewed research publication about ASMR.
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 publication was authored by Beverley Fredborg, an adjunct lab member in the Embodied Emotion Laboratory, Dr. Jim Clark, the Chair of the Department of Psychology, and Dr. Stephen Smith, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology.
This article now brings you an explanation of their study in the words of the lead author, Beverley “Bev” Fredborg, who is also currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
In 2016, Stephen Smith and Beverley Fredborg from the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada published a research paper about ASMR and brain activity (summary, interview, podcast episode).
The dynamic duo has now done it again, publishing their second research paper about ASMR.
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 article was authored by Beverley Fredborg, Jim Clark, and Stephen Smith.
The goal of the study was to investigate if ASMR is associated with specific personality traits, and they also analyzed data about the perceived intensity of specific ASMR triggers.
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?
Dr. Franziska Apprich received her Ph.D. in Media and Business from Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland and is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication & Media Studies at Canadian University Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
She has recently been researching and publishing about several aspects of ASMR, including the benefits of ASMR in education.
Her investigations into ASMR were reviewed by the Venus International Foundation and resulted in her winning the Outstanding Scientist Award from the organization.
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.