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What does ASMR stand for? Who came up with the term, and who is the biggest ASMRtist out there today? In this (quiet) episode of The List Show, Erin (@erincmccarthy) shares 24 facts about ASMR, in the style of ASMR videos.


Bob Ross fans and sufferers of misophonia will want to watch. You’ll learn what triggers ASMR and find out how you can test to see if you experience ASMR.


In case you forgot, The List Show is a trivia-tastic, fact-filled show for curious people. Subscribe here for new List Show episodes the first and third Wednesday of each month: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpZ5qUqpW4hW4zdfuBxMSJA?sub_confirmation=1


For more ASMR facts, check out our article on the subject: https://mentalfloss.com/article/551966/facts-about-asmr-phenomenon-behind-scalp-tingles

Here’s the ASMR sound generator Erin mentions in the video: http://asmrion.com/



Website: http://www.mentalfloss.com
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Did you know that the term ASMR was coined in a Facebook post?

Hi, I'm Erin McCarthy, editor-in-chief of Mental Floss.com. In 2010, computer scientist Jennifer Allen came up with the initialism ASMR for autonomous sensory meridian response.

That's right: it doesn't have any official medical meaning. Most of the words Allen came up with makes sense for the tingle sensation people get when they hear satisfying sounds, but maybe you're confused by meridian. She used it to imply "orgasm" without actually saying it.

And that's just the first of many facts about ASMR "in" ASMR then I'm going to share with you today. In addition to a body tingle, people who experience ASMR reports it elicits feelings of pleasure and relaxation. The tingle primarily occurs in the head, but can venture lower in the body, too.

People have called the feeling brain tingles or brain orgasms, though some taking issue with the latter. It implies there's a sexual component to ASMR, but an 84% of respondents to a 2015 study reported that there was not. As for how to make the feeling happen, there are triggers.

You're probably most familiar with ASMR YouTube videos, created by ASMRtists. A person on screen speaks or performs actions in an attempt to cause a reaction in the viewer. There are a huge range of trigger sounds, including *sounds of various triggers* There are also videos more focused on experiences, like sorting trading cards or roleplay in which the.

ASMRtist pretends to be your doctor, hair stylist, or any member of other people. As for which of those triggers are most popular, in the survey of 475 ASMR-experiencers I mentioned earlier, the researchers found the top four triggers in order were whispering, personal attention, crisp sounds—which they define as metallic foil, tapping fingernails, etc.—and slow movements. As for why people used ASMR media 98% claimed it was for relaxation. 82% said it helped them fall asleep.

But even though we probably know it best from videos, the sensation happens in real life, too. Some people feel the response while getting a manicure or a haircut. How do you know if you have it?

You can try clicking around on YouTube. Another option is an ASMR sound generator. There's one linked in the video description that lets you create a mixture of sounds with options like purring cats, snowstorm, and bonfire.

I prefer the purring cats. ASMR has only recently become a well-known phenomenon. Dr.

Craig Richard, a professor a Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Shenandoah University is one of the few legitimate experts on the subject. He wrote the book Brain Tingles, which provides a history of the ASMR community. According to Richard, it was in 2007 thread on the online forum SteadyHealth.com that triggered the conversation.

After a user wrote, "weird sensation feels good" and described ASMR, lots of people commented about how they could relate. Richards' history of ASMR in Brain Tingles also covers the YouTube scene. The first video meant to intentionally trigger ASMR, which featured a woman whispering, and of course predates the term, was uploaded to the channel WhisperingLife in March 2009.

Since then, more than 13 million ASMR videos have been uploaded to YouTube. As of May 2019, it was the fourth most popular YouTube search. And there are 7.5 million posts under the ASMR tag on Instagram.

So let’s get into the science. There haven’t really been any conclusive studies on ASMR. Only within the past couple years has anyone begun to study the phenomenon, which is not enough time to create and replicate large research projects.

A lot of the information we have about ASMR is self-reported by its community. We'll talk about a few studies that do exist, but just know that this is all pretty new and subject to change. One interesting ASMR study was published in the journal PLOS One.

There were one hundred ten participants, half who experienced ASMR and half who were controls. They watched videos- some ASMR, some not- and had their heart rates monitored. Participants prone to ASMR had a heart rate reduction of three point four one beats per minute after watching ASMR videos.

According to the paper, that makes it about as effective as quote "music-based stress reduction" and more effective than quote "a mindfulness/acceptance-based intervention for anxiety." so even if they really enjoy a particular video they People with ASMR have reported that they can become desensitized to triggers over time. So even if they really enjoy a particular video, they have to space out their viewings to ensure it still has an impact. . In a survey conducted by Craig Richard with 19,000 respondents, 40% claimed that they had become desensitized to a trigger.

Thanks to Aegideus for the tip. People who experience ASMR are more susceptible to misophonia, where sounds trigger negative responses. Misophonia often manifests as a hatred for sounds made by human mouths.

Scientists are looking into the connection between the two—one study suggested, quote, "ASMR and misophonia represent two ends of the same sound sensitivity spectrum." You can attend live ASMR experiences, like Whisper Lodge, which has appeared in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. For about $90 performers will spend 90 minutes trying to give you brain tingles. There is one performer per guest and they whisper into your ear, touch you with a brush and create many of the noises you hear in the YouTube videos.

The very idea of this gives me shivers, and NOT the good ASMR kind. If this is all seeming pretty niche, it’s worth pointing out that ASMR has gone mainstream. In 2019 a Michelob Ultra Super Bowl commercial starring Zoe Kravitz had her whispering and acting out other ASMR triggers, like tapping a Michelob bottle.

The ad agency responsible for the spots even consulted with- who else? Craig Richard. Tther companies that have created ASMR spon-con include KFC, IKEA, Dove, and Ritz Crackers.

And it has been used in popular music. One well-known ASMRtist is Maria, of the YouTube channel GentleWhispering. Deadmau5 used a clip of her saying, “Good morning to you,” among other things, in his 2014 song Terrors in My Head.

Maria, who keeps her last name private,was a pioneer in the world of ASMRtists. In July 2017, she became the first ASMRtist to reach 1 million YouTube subscribers. In a video, she described it as, quote, "a huge milestone, not just for my channel, but for our whole ASMR community." But it’s not easy to just jump into this world.

In interviews, she has described her process, which involves writing a script with the ideal sounding words, perfect microphone placement, and meticulous sound editing. Each video can take up to three days to create. The website ASMR University has tips for aspiring artists, like how to record a perfect soft sound when there’s background noise— which could include noise from the recording equipment itself.

Unsurprisingly: this endeavor can cost money. They recommend having “a pop filter or foam wind screen.” Still, it’s possible to create ASMR without trying to elicit brain tingles at all. Bob Ross did It makes sense when you think about it.

He talks straight to the viewer with a relaxing voice, plus there all those lovely soft painting sounds. Happy little brain tingles, everybody! A major challenge for researchers who want to study the brains of people with ASMR is that MRI machines are loud, which hinders the ASMR experience.

In research published in 2017 in the journal Social Neuroscience, a group of Canadians studied brains at rest- 11 people with ASMR and 11 controls. Those with ASMR had less active connections between the brain's frontal lobe and sensory regions. To the researchers this meant that maybe, quote, "ASMR reflects a reduced ability to inhibit sensory emotional experiences that are suppressed in most individuals." One of those researchers, associate professor Stephen Smith, also worked on a study in which 290 people with ASMR and 290 controls were given personality tests.

The team looked for correlations between ASMR and the Big Five personality traits: openness to experience, neuroticism, conscientiousness extraversion, and agreeableness. Well, people with ASMR had less of those last three- conscientiousness, extraversion and agreeableness- than a control group. But they tended to score higher in openness to experience and neuroticism.

Finally, ASMR isn’t all innocent towel folding and painting. There are some ASMR YouTube videos that I have to imagine appeal to a very small percentage of people. Like ones in which the artists act out kidnapping or murdering the viewer.

The Mixed ASMR channel has a video that starts out like this: "Hello. Nice to meet you. If you haven't guessed so far this is a robbery and I'd like all your money, thanks.

So we could do this the easy way or I could stab you." Which sounds... super relaxing. Our next episode is spooky. It's about the origins of scary stories, just in time for Halloween.

Leave your favorite spooky story in the comments for a chance to be featured in that episode. That will go up on October 16th. Make sure to subscribe here so you don't miss it.

We'll see you then!