[Voices of ASMR] What triggers ASMR in the real world?

Based on your ASMR experiences…

Explain what triggers ASMR for you in the real world, include details like:

  • Are you triggered by voices? sounds? sights? touches? smells? other?
  • Which of the above trigger types is the strongest for you?
  • What real world situations trigger your ASMR the strongest?
  • Do your immediate surroundings make a difference?
  • Is the sensation similar or different from ASMR triggered by a video or audio recording?

Scroll down and share your answers in the Comments section.

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23 thoughts on “[Voices of ASMR] What triggers ASMR in the real world?

  1. I am triggered by some one brushing or playing with my hair, tapping sounds, seeing some one perform complex tasks and oddly enough, just talking about ASMR

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  2. My earliest memories of having ASMR was in kindergarten. We were sitting on the floor, someone was reading a story to us and one of my classmates was very gently braiding a small section of my hair. I also experience it when I watch people “work” (ie Drawing with pencils, people trying to solve a problem, measuring and cutting paper, even watching people mow the lawn). One of the strongest ASMR’s I’ve ever had was when the maintenance guy was trying to find a key. We had about 100 set of spare keys in my office.Each set had one to three keys on a ring with a tag on, those round paper and metal ones. I couldn’t see him, I could just hear him. It may have been the combination of him working to find something with the gentle tinkling of the keys against the metal tag. He may have been mumbling to himself, too. I couldn’t move the entire time he was searching … even now, just thinking about it, it gives me a very mild tingle.

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  3. I’ve always wondered what that tingling sensation was. For me, I noticed it most when someone touched or used something of mine. Someone using my pencil or writing in my book gave me (and still does) that feeling. I would stay calm and hope to myself that they would continue doing whatever it was that triggered that feeling because I really really didn’t want it to go away. And it’s not like I can say “hey can you please keep going in my pencil pouch, it feels good”…imagine how that would go. I craved these moments because I couldn’t pinpoint other direct sources of that tingly feeling that I love and feel blessed that I am able to experience. I say blessed because I realized that not everyone can feel it(I’ve asked). Then I looked up “what is that feeling you get when someone touches your stuff” It led me to a list of yahoo answers about why people hate it when people touch their stuff but that was NOT me. So I was more specific with my next search: “What is that tingly sensation in my head (leaving out when someone touches my things bc there may be other triggers). And BAM I found AMSR. Reading through articles and experiences helped me because I realize that I am not alone. I also found lists of triggers that allow me to get that feeling. It’s sounds, touches, and other things. I still love it when people play in my hair or use my things but I find even when they’re not doing that, I can easily find a YouTube video to help me out. I can’t explain this to people without seeming weird. I don’t feel that it is weird at all and honestly I’m sorry that so many people can’t experience the pleasure that I feel when I am triggered. I wish so badly that I could invite someone to feel these experiences with. Today, I sent a friend an ASMR whispering video to listen to and asked her what she felt. She said..”creeped out.” I’m like really? No tingly feeling? Nothing? And she’s like “no..I can hear her mouth opening, why is she speaking so slow?” No one really gets it unless they have it but I’m sooo glad I’m not the only person that gets it. Seriously, it’s like a head-gasm(just made that up lol) without any work. Thank you to all that shared. I’m grateful to have found people like myself. I truly hope that ASMR becomes more widely known and science finds a way to explain it to me. For now, I’ll just consider it a blessing. I feel like I can relax better than some people.

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  4. I have experienced this (human purring) all of my life. Am 61 now. It happens to me when I watch a child drawing a picture, singing, or reading to me. Also, it sometimes happens when I am interacting with animals and insects (I am a wild life re-habber, biologist, and beekeeper). The sensation appears to happen from visually focusing on someone or something, like warm and loving thoughts, or hearing certain tones, octaves, or music. I also feel the sensation when I think of other people – their thoughts, feelings, and the powerful connections we share. My theory is that it is from an ancient genetic trait, and is not a learned response. I have never known anyone else who has experienced this, but know it is completely ‘normal’ for me. I have not watched any videos about it, and haven’t any desire to do so. It is 100% real for me, and I am very happy and thankful to find out that I am not the only person in the world with this ability. Thank you everyone for coming forward.

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  5. I get it from listening to someone, often a salesperson, explain or demonstrate something to me. It is always one on one. They are doing almost all the talking. I am mostly a passive observer. Eg: last time I got it was buying a steam mop. The guy was calm and knowledgeable and really took the time to explain all the functions and different models. Pretty banal stuff, but it got me buzzing. The other trigger for me is listening to someone hum / sing as they work. I’ve had a couple of colleagues who do this. Depending on who it is I can either find it irritating or asmring
    I have never experienced it from videos. I wish I could.

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  6. I am triggered only when I am able to watch someone mid-thought. Normally a person’s train of thought runs too fast for you to watch it, and your brain is left picking up the last word, or they are merely repeating a thought they have already had previously, but occasionally, a person pauses and is left pondering something new while they speak, and my brain is able to fully process all the words that have come before and is left in anticipation of the next word to come. Where is their train of thought heading? Knowing full well the person thinking doesn’t know that either. In most instances, the stimulus is auditory, as in a lecture hall listening to a professor. In these instances, the professor is usually speaking in his or her second language, and perhaps searching for a word to describe what they are thinking. One memorable instance involved watching my niece draw with a crayon. Rather than scribbling or drawing hastily, each of her strokes were deliberate and painstakingly considered, and the ASMR mounted as I awaited her decision as to her next stroke.

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  7. I am mostly triggered by voices, and sometimes touch or sound. The touch and sound are mostly limited to getting a haircut, if the demeanor of the hairstylist is calm and attentive. The fingers running through my hair and the slight tugging, plus the sound of scissors cutting right around my ears.
    The strongest trigger is definitely voices, and fairly often the person has an accent. It happens in situations where I feel I’m being given personal attention, and the person’s tone and demeanor are caring, instructive, professional, and/or role playing (when I was younger, such as how children act as adults when they are playing). Some specific examples I can recall: advice from doctor with Vietnamese accent; stranger with Hispanic accent in a gift shop asking my opinion on which keychain he should buy; coworker detailing the method and spices he used to make a recipe; playing “house” or “restaurant” with my cousins as a child; classmate in 3rd grade drawing on the blackboard and instructing the class on how to do something we had just learned in math; attentive and accomodating hostess with accent at Chinese restaurant.
    If my immediate surroundings are too noisy or hectic it is distracting and thus hard or impossible to experience ASMR.
    The sensation is similar to ASMR triggered by a recording, but I think that the more “natural” responses that I get from the real world tend to be longer in duration because I am not distracted by the sometimes artificial feeling of watching a video so it is easier to focus.

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  8. -Are you triggered by voices? sounds? sights? touches? smells? other?
    I am triggered by a wide range of things. All of the above can trigger it in addition to memories and what i can only describe as “imagined memories”. “imagined memories” are when I see something, example: a piece of artwork, and I imagine myself as the artist/participant/maker/on-looker/ect. if I focus on imagining how the artwork or whatever it may be came into existence, I can usually trigger my asmr. I can also trigger it by focusing on an old memory in which I was very happy, and by remembering very specific details like subtle sights, sounds and touches, I experience tingles.

    -Which of the above trigger types is the strongest for you?
    Thus far, all by itself, sound is the strongest. But when I combine sight, sound, and “imagined memory” I get a completely incomparable experience.

    -What real world situations trigger your ASMR the strongest?
    Having my hair brushed/played with or my scalp massaged, also back rubs/scratches and going through an “imagined memory”

    -Do your immediate surroundings make a difference?
    Yes. If the area around me is hectic in any way, people rushing around or the TV on too loud for example, I have a difficult if not impossible time of experiencing ASMR. If the area is calm and relaxed, my ASMR often triggers with little to no extra focus, almost without me noticing until the tingles have started.

    -Is the sensation similar or different from ASMR triggered by a video or audio recording?
    I think it’s a bit different. The euphoric feeling is about the same but the actual physical sensation of it is a bit different. I feel the actual tingles more often when watching videos and listening to recorded audio, but i think it has to do with the fact that I listen through head phones so it’s literally right in my ear. I’ve never asked anyone to whisper in my ear for any extended period of time so I can’t say for sure if I would have the same reaction to a real-life whisper or not haha

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  9. Many things. Watching QVC where they describe stuff in detail. Watching people cook or make/ build something. Listening to people explain how to do things. Bob Ross. People talking softly or very gently.

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  10. Having my hair cut – not the washing etc (too uncomfortable, head back in the basin) – but the combing and cutting. It produces a warm fuzzy feeling all over mt head, neck and shoulders and can send me into a hypnagogic state. I’m fortunate in having a hairdresser who doesn’t chatter at me!

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  11. My strongest real-world trigger is an electric razor close to my ear. It’s so intense that it seizes my back up and vibrates through my buttocks. It’s too powerful to really be enjoyable; sometimes I want to get away from the razor to stop the sensation. In a video, this same sensation is actually pleasurable, because it is usually less intense. After that, whispers and blowing into my ear are the strongest sensation, followed by scissors cutting material. With the exception of the electric razor in real life, I can easily ignore all of these triggers, if I try.

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  12. Are you triggered by voices? sounds? sights? touches? smells? other?

    Whispering, mouth sounds, tapping, scratching, light touches on arms/shoulders/back, crinkles, focused attention on a task

    Which of the above trigger types is the strongest for you?

    tapping (particularly on wooden objects or dense glass)

    What real world situations trigger your ASMR the strongest?

    When I was a student (and later as a teacher) it was the sound of pencils writing. Particularly when everyone was taking a test so it was very quiet and the sounds were pretty isolated.

    Do your immediate surroundings make a difference?

    In a way yes. For the most part, it needs to be a relatively quiet atmosphere with few distractions.

    Is the sensation similar or different from ASMR triggered by a video or audio recording?

    Pretty similar.

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  13. I am a 16 year old boy and i am very interested in psychology and neuroscience. I have been experiencing ASMR and Misophonia ever since i can really remember. With Misophonia my only trigger was snoring, no matter what the case was i would just go ballistic if i heard snoring. A bit later in my life i developed a trigger to people chewing. Now with my ASMR my triggers are smooth voices etc. Also seeing someone do something repeatedly over and over, but my trigges do not work when i look up trigger videos or if someone knows i am “using” them for ASMR. It’s almost as if it only triggers in a naturally occurring situation, i can’t just set it up myself. Now this is where things get a bit more interesting. Once i fully read up on ASMR and Misophonia i figured that there had to he some sort of connection between the two and i got this idea that you could turn Misophonia into ASMR so i begun to experiment with it and it actually worked! When i was near my brother who was eating at the time, i concentrated on the sound then the feeling of ASMR and just like that my Misophonia trigger turned into an ASMR trigger. Now i pretty much seek out people who are chewing vigorously although, if i am in a bad mood or annoyed with a person at the time and they start chewing, it triggers my Misophonia again. I have yet to accomplish it with my snoring trigger because it is just too powerful for me to over come, but i am still trying it and swear that i will change it over to ASMR soon enough. i just needed to share this experience with some one so maybe more research could be done on the topic. This sounds very far-fetched but i am speaking the complete truth

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  14. Real-life triggering does not happen often for me, unfortunately. One of my recent real-life triggers happened at my university. Someone in a work uniform was there to sketch out the interior of a building for renovations. The man’s careful contemplation, his furrowed brow, and his moving pencil were triggers for me. I could tell he was heavily concentrating. It was all visual for me.

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  15. I am usually triggered by voices, sounds, and touches, but also once by written communication. Voices, touches and the last one (reading) seem to have been the strongest so far. Real world situations are: listening to certain women talk, or simply their presence next to me (like, seating in a couch in front of me). A visit to a female doctor whose demeanor is soft and kind. Reading a text from a particular female friend (this one just happened once, but the physical sensation was exactly the same). The surroundings dont make a difference, it can happen anywhere, unless there’s too much noise or chaos. The sensation triggered by real world situations is different from the one I get from videos or audio recording. When it’s a real world, accidental trigger, the sensation is stronger, it reaches my whole body, and I feel vulnerable, exposed, and emotionally engaged in the situation or with the person who caused it.

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  16. I use to get the best tingles when the school nurse would come check our heads for lice. I remember wishing she would comb through our hair longer because I had these crazy tingles when she did. I also got them when the teacher would lick her finger to separate sheets of paper before handing them out to the class. Now most of my tingles come from eye exams, customer service phone calls, when I do my taxes at H&R block and they ask for information and then type what I said into the computer, and other instances involving another person.

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  17. When people speak in a different language than their mother tongue; when I go for a haircut and they wash my hair, when people breath near me, when people near me are working and they whisper to themselves but I can still hear it, when I’m commuting and people accidentally brush my arms with their bags, when the cleaning lady come and clean my desk, when I see people washing windows.

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  18. Certain music, singing voices, and talking voices. It can happen during doctor’s appointments, eye exams, make-over’s, and by sales representatives due to the personal attention.

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  19. Are you triggered by voices? sounds? sights? touches? smells? other? I’m triggered by voices, sights, and sounds.

    Which of the above trigger types is the strongest for you? Voices.

    What real world situations trigger your ASMR the strongest? At work when random people speak to me. That has always been kind of a difficult thing for me. At my first few jobs I would get so tired and I never realized why until about a year ago. It’s because I worked a cash register or dealt with ppl all day and their voices would trigger me so I was almost always sleepy.

    Do your immediate surroundings make a difference? I actually haven’t noticed if they do or not.

    Is the sensation similar or different from ASMR triggered by a video or audio recording? It is stronger than when I watch or listen to ASMR.

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  20. Numbering answers to match questions..

    1. Sounds, touches, voices, scratching sounds on head.

    2. Voices.

    3. Going to the ear doctor or salon.

    4. Yes

    5. Not really. They are strong in both real life and videos.

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  21. I am triggered by voice, touch (hair/scalp), mouth breathing (especially in binaural videos where the artist role plays as an ear doctor or eye doctor. That up close experience). Real life triggers for me include a trip to the salon – the haircut and combing. Especially the shampooing. For the online experience I require both the visual and audio experience to trigger my ASMR.

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