Meaning of ASMR

What is ASMR:

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (autonomic meridian sensory response), a biological phenomenon related to the perception of certain sensations associated with well-being and pleasure, such as tingling in the back, neck and head, usually in response to auditory, visual stimuli and in some cases, touch.

These sensations are also known as "brain orgasms." But, despite their connotation, they are not induced or linked to sexual stimuli.

Origin of ASMR

Although it is likely that we have experienced ASMR a long time ago in the history of evolution, the reality is that there is not enough research on it because it is a phenomenon recently made known thanks to the internet and social networks.

In 2007, an internet user wrote a blog post called stedyhealth.com in which he made reference to certain pleasant physical sensations, which he perceived in an endless number of daily activities, and he wanted to know what name he received and if someone else had had similar sensations.

Not only did the post get thousands of responses, but internet communities were even created in which similar experiences were shared while searching for a name that would summarize the phenomenon.

In 2010, a Facebook user named Jennifer Allen created a group within that social network called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in response to the debate generated around the subject. Since then, the term ASMR was coined to refer to these sensations, generally related to the sensation of tingling or tickling in the head.

ASMR Features

Although this biological response can be induced by various types of stimuli, and can be perceived by each person differently, there are some characteristics that allow ASMR to be identified.

  • The stimuli that trigger the sensations are, essentially, auditory. In a second place, there are visual stimuli and, very occasionally, tactile or circumstantial stimuli.
  • ASMR triggers are not sexual in origin. In fact, the sensations generated are more linked to calm (and even sleep), than to euphoria or excitement.
  • The responses generated by the ASMR have no side effects. However, they could cause addiction, since affected subjects could be driven to seek those triggering stimuli more frequently.
  • Although studies in this regard are incipient, it is estimated that one in every thousand people has ASMR, according to data provided by the first census carried out in 2014 by the University of Swansea, in Wales, United Kingdom.

Types of ASMR

As mentioned above, there are several types of ASMR. The most common is that people have a predominant type of stimulus, however, cases of people who have several types of triggers have been reported.

Auditory ASMR

Trigger stimuli are usually slow, repetitive and very soft sounds, such as whispering, murmuring, drumming the fingers on a solid surface, turning the pages of a book, etc.

Visual ASMR

In this case, the individual generates a biological response to certain compositions of images, lights, colors or arrangements of objects. There is no pattern, since the arrangement of the elements can activate an ASMR response in some subjects and not in others.

Touch ASMR

ASMR triggers would be hand touches, especially if done slowly and steadily on the face, neck, or head.

Situational ASMR

It is when the person can only have an ASMR response to very specific conditions, for example, being in a railway station and hearing the sound of the train that is arriving, seeing someone scratching their head or buttoning a shirt, etc. The stimuli are infinite, and depend on each person.

Ultrasensory ASMR

It is a type of ASMR response in which a sensation can be experienced by the occurrence of more than one stimulus, either simultaneously or separately (auditory and tactile, for example).

ASMR Videos

ASMR Calming Wood Triggers for Sleep (No Talking)

With the expansion of the ASMR phenomenon, and taking into account that the range of stimuli is infinite, creators of content specifically designed to trigger ASMR responses in users have proliferated on the internet.

In this case, we speak of "intentional videos", since they are developed by so-called "ASMRtist”(Artists or creators of ASMR videos). The most popular include sounds of people chewing, ripping different textures, narrating with whispers, making combinations of lights, etc.

When videos play 3D-feeling sounds (to make the listener feel like they are at the recording location), they are called binaural sounds.

There are also "unintended" videos, which are those that were not created to generate an ASMR response, but do. Certain television programs play patterns that are stimulating to some people, or there are situations that trigger an ASMR response, such as the entertainer voice, for example.

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