What is ASMR?

ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a tingling feeling that usually starts on the scalp and goes down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared to auditory-tactile synesthesia and may overlap with frisson as a pleasant form of paresthesia.

ASMR refers to a state of “low-grade bliss” marked by “a mix of good emotions and a characteristic static-like tingling sensation on the skin.” Specific aural or visual inputs, as well as conscious attention control, are the most prevalent triggers.

ASMR is generally triggered by stimuli known as ‘triggers.’ The most prevalent ASMR triggers are auditory and visual, and they can be found in everyday interpersonal encounters. ASMR is also frequently elicited by exposure to certain audio and video. Such material may have been created specifically for the aim of inducing ASMR, or it may have been created for other purposes and afterwards determined to be useful as an ASMR trigger.

Triggers include:

  • Listening to a whispered or softly spoken voice
  • Listening to quiet, repetitive noises made by someone performing a routine task
  • Observing someone perform a monotonous chore, such as food preparation, with rapt attention
  • Receiving individual attention, such as grooming (makeup application, hair brushing)
  • Listening to tapping on surfaces such as plastic, wood, paper, metal, and so on.
  • Hand gestures, especially those directed toward one’s face
  • Certain forms of music are enjoyable to listen to.
  • Listening to someone exhale or inhale into a microphone
  • Listening to “crinkly” objects like paper and clothing