[ASMR]: Everything Science Knows So Far

You may have seen videos on the internet where
people whisper and tap on things, or crinkle things… These strange delicate, noises… can cause
some people to get “brain tingles” So, did ya feel anything? For some, hearing and seeing videos like this
can cause a “tingling sensation.” It can start across their skull and down their
spine and it’s usually paired with an intense feeling of relaxation. It’s been called “brain tingles,”or
“brain orgasms,” but as of now, it goes by A-S-M-R. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
Awareness of ASMR has been growing since the early 2010’s, with video views in the millions,
AND its reputation has piqued the interest of science researchers who want to know what’s
going on behind this phenomenon. And, tbh, we don’t know a lot. The term, ASMR isn’t even defined in scientific
literature — Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response — was coined on an online forum
not by a scientist. What “tingle heads” are trying to describe
is the body’s involuntary response based on what it’s seeing and hearing. A 2015 study took the responses of 475 participants
who experience ASMR and found consistent visual and auditory stimuli across the board. Participants experienced tingles to slow movements,
soft whispering, or “crisp sounds” — like tapping. Of course, different people react differently
to the tingles — for some it’s a stress reliever, and for others it makes them so
relaxed it helps them sleep. The thing is, this is all self-reported by
“ASMR enthusiasts,”, so another study tried to get some concrete evidence right
at the source — the ol’ noodle. Researchers used fMRI scans to study the brains
of a small group of people — half of whom had ASMR. They focused on the resting-state network
or default mode network (DMN). The DMN is a system of interacting regions
of the brain that light up when the individual is NOT focused on external factors. Like, say, when you’re daydreaming. All they looked for was a difference in brain
structures. Not what the tingles did to the brain. And though it wasn’t a large sample size,
what they found was interesting. Normally, certain regions of the brain fire
up together or “talk” to one another — this is called being “functionally connected”
But, in people who experience ASMR, researchers noted some, of these regions were talking
LESS to one another, and some regions were talking MORE. So, we STILL don’t have concrete answers
yet, but these fMRIs show, “tingle heads” definitely have something going on. But so far, that’s about all we could find
in the hard science literature on ASMR. But these days you can’t talk ASMR without
mentioning, Dr Craig Richard, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and ASMR experiencer
who’s created a whole platform to interview other ASMR scientists and keep it in the news. Richard is in the middle of conducting an
online survey of over 20,000 self-reported ASMR persons from over 100 countries. Nothing is published yet, and it’s not exactly
scientific, but at some point we may have more data. In the meantime, he has a hypothesis. A lot of these videos have one thing in common
and that’s their ability to elicit intimacy through the idea of sensory function. Things are being touched, voices are soothing
and comforting… He believes all of these factors trigger a
similar response to the experience of being loved. I mean YES gentle voices and touching are
important factors to all interpersonal bonding amongst humans. It helps us strengthen our relationships and
neurotransmitters get released to make us feel relaxed and comforted. BUT we have no scientific evidence to back
this up. Even Dr. Richard says that more studies need
to be published to find an solid answer In the end, even though it might seem like
some silly internet thing knowing more about this could help us treat serious conditions
like insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain. And we know more research is definitely needed,
but, it’s a good reminder that even when you may feel alone, you can always count on
the people of the internet to have your back and also your…tingly head. Hey there hope this episode has your fingers
tingling towards the subscribe button. And speaking of internet, why don’t you
check out this video on if we could one day connect our brain to the web. SHARE ALL THE ASMR. Fun fact: ASMR could be linked to Synesthesia,
which is the ability to hear color or taste words (aaand we have a video on that too BAM
TWO VIDEOS) anyway thanks for watching and hope you see you back here on Seeker.