ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, has been referred to by many different terms. I’ve heard it called “shivers,” “brain tingles,” or even Attention Induced Euphoria (AIE). Whatever you call it, ASMR is a phenomena where someone experiences a tingling sensation that begins in the scalp and radiates down through the spine and limbs. Not everyone experiences ASMR, so don’t fret if you have no idea what I’m writing about.
I do experience ASMR, and I first noticed it as a kid when I would watch Bob Ross and feel the tingling sensation in my scalp that would then move to the back of my head and into my shoulders. I thought everyone experienced this, so years later when mentioning it to a friend, I was surprised when they looked at me with confusion. Fast-forward to 2013 and I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who experienced these “head tingles,” but that there was a whole community of people on YouTube that made videos directed toward triggering this.
Now, not a whole lot is known about ASMR, as it only recently started to be studied (around 2010). One research study from 2015 posits that there may be a link between ASMR and synesthesia (1). Another from 2018 shares that when an individual experiences an ASMR reaction areas of the brain are activated similar to when someone experiences musical frisson (think shivers that you may experience when listening to music or watching a performance)(2). Researchers have also found that when individuals experience an ASMR reaction their experience of chronic pain, depression, and stress may temporarily decrease (1).
Below is a short informational video on ASMR from Life Noggin.
As we learn more about ASMR and the brain, who knows what we might develop!