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What is ASMR?

What exactly is ASMR? The term itself was coined by Jennifer Allen, a nonscientist looking to create an official sounding name for a sensory phenomenon that was beginning to appear in online videos and discussions, but which at the end of the last decade still had no name. There are different ways of defining and understanding it. The letters stand for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and it “describes the experience of tingling sensations in the crown of the head, in response to a range of audio-visual triggers such as whispering, tapping, and hand movements” (Poerio, Blakey, Hostler, & Veltri, 2018). The Wikipedia entry on ASMR defines it as a “…term used for an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine.” The entry gives quite a lot of information about its history and background. Fredborg, Clark, & Smith (2017) describe it as “a perceptual condition in which the presence of particular audio-visual stimuli triggers intense, pleasurable tingling sensations in the head and neck regions, which may spread to the periphery of the body”. Barratt & Davis (2015), in one of the first studies to begin a scientific investigation of ASMR defined it as “a … sensory phenomenon, in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck, and at times further areas in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli. This sensation is widely reported to be accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being.”  (This paragraph is from an Article in Psychology Today written by John Cline Ph.D. Read More)