Graduate student completes research study about the role of ASMR in the service industry

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian ResponseI posted a prior article titled, “Participate in a research study about the role of ASMR in the service industry.

Good news, the research study is completed and some results are now available.

The researcher was Vladimir Fedoseev, a graduate student pursuing his MBA at the Varna University of Management in Varna, Bulgaria (a partner university of Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales).

His dissertation focused on the involvement of ASMR in the service industry and is titled, “Effect of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) on Service User Experience”

He investigated how ASMR triggers, like soft speech, gentle sounds, careful hand movements, light touch, personal attention, and kind personalities, might effect experiences with hairdressers, doctors, hotel clerks, and others in the service industry.

In this second interview with Vladimir he reviews the details of his methods and shares some results of his research project.

One curious observation I noticed in his results is that gentle sounds, soft speech, and personal attention were the top triggers perceived by participants to cause ASMR in services, but the services with increasing reliance of light touch (like a hairdresser) showed increasing likelihood of stimulating ASMR.  This could imply that light touch is a stronger contributor in service-mediated ASMR than the participants realized.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and links to learn more about his research project.

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Undergraduate student investigates psychoacoustics of ASMR trigger sounds

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityAnders Köhler recently graduated from the University of Skövde in Sweden with a Degree of Bachelor of Arts and majored in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration (Game Development – Sound).

His examination project investigated the psychoacoustic properties of ASMR sounds and was titled, “A study of scratching sounds within ASMR in a neutral sound environment.”

Anders’ goal was to try to find  patterns and properties in ASMR trigger sounds.  This is a terrific quest.  What is special about crinkling, tapping, whispering, and scratching sounds that make them so blissful and delightful to ASMR enthusiasts?

He focused his project on scratching sounds and utilized state-of-the-art tools and methods to dissect the sound profiles.

In my interview with Anders he explains his goals, research design, and shares a table of his data with a full explanation of what he discovered in his project.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and links to his study, a video summary, and his Facebook page.

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Published research study examines how expectations can affect ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityDaniella Cash, Laura Heisick, and Megan Papesh from Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, LA have published a research study about expectations and ASMR.

The study is titled aptly, “Expectancy effects in the ASMR” and was published August 22, 2018 in the journal PeerJ.  Links to this paper and a follow up commentary paper are at the end of this article.

I’m often asked why only some individuals experience ASMR.  The answer is that no one knows.  Yet.  The easiest answer could be that the response is dependent on a specific gene sequence – you either have it or you don’t.

But life is never that simple.

It is believed that experiencing ASMR is more likely to occur while being in a relaxing setting, having a calm mind, selecting a preferred trigger type and style, and even perhaps not being on specific drugs or medications which could interfere with ASMR.

What about the influence of life experiences, culture, or expectations?   Particularly expectations.  Expectations could be a part of the magic behind the placebo effect.

Could the placebo effect explain ASMR?  Or what about vice versa?  Maybe ASMR could explain the placebo affect in specific cases?

Visualize a clinician handing you a pill – that is a moment filled with personal attention, caring behaviors, a soft voice, and probably the light touch of their hand on yours, as well as, a reassuring hand on your back as you walk out of their office.

How about meeting with a therapist on a regular basis?  A weekly dose of hyper-focused personal attention from a trained expert with a soft and steady voice – that is an ASMR recipe.  If therapy sessions help you feel calmer, then is it the wisdom, the insights, the ASMR, or all of that which bring you serenity?

In this study, the authors investigated if expectations can affect ASMR – an important question indeed.

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Published research study about mindfulness and ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityBeverley 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.

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Published research study focuses on misophonia and ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityThis is the second ASMR research study published by Dr Agnieszka Janik McErlean (Bath Spa University, UK) and Dr Michael Banissy (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK).

Their prior study was titled, “Assessing individual variation in personality and empathy traits in self-reported ASMR” and was published March 30, 2017 in the journal Multisensory Research.

Their latest study is titled, “Increased misophonia in self-reported ASMR” and was published August 6, 2018 in the journal PeerJ.

Misophonia is common in discussions about ASMR because some people greatly enjoy ASMR trigger sounds like whispering, mouth sounds, and chewing but others will respond to those same sounds with annoyance, anger, or anxiety (misophonia).

Curiously, some people who report experiencing ASMR to some triggers also report experiencing misophonia to other triggers.  This hyper-sensitivity to sounds has people often wondering if people who experience ASMR are more likely to also experience misophonia.

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Graduate student completes research study about the body map of ASMR sensations

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityJack 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.

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Published research study demonstrates physiological benefits of ASMR

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityA 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.

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Participate in a research study about the role of ASMR in the service industry

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian ResponseVladimir Fedoseev is a graduate student pursuing his MBA at the Varna University of Management in Varna, Bulgaria (a partner university of Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales).

His dissertation is investigating the involvement of ASMR in the service industry and is titled, “Effect of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) on Service User Experience”

This is an interesting topic.  How do the caring dispositions, light touches, hand movements, and personal attention from  hairdressers, servers, and hotel staff affect our experience (and perhaps the tips)?  Does being able to experience ASMR influence these interactions?

You can take his survey (link below) to share your experiences and perspectives.

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Published research study explores ASMR trigger preferences

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityI 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.

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Research publication reports association between ASMR and misophonia

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityRomke Rouw of the University of Amsterdam and Mercede Erfanian of Maastricht University, both located in The Netherlands, have published a research paper on misophonia.

The paper is titled, “A large-scale study of misophonia” and was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology as an epub in May 2017 and then as a journal article in March 2018.

The research study focuses mostly on misophonia but it does contain some data about ASMR.

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