What Is ASMR? – Whispered Explanation  – The Science & Psychology

What Is ASMR? – Whispered Explanation – The Science & Psychology

My name is Dr Emma Gray, and I am the ASMR
Psychologist. And, in this video, I am going to explain what ASMR is. Let me know what
you think by giving me an up thumb or a down thumb, and if you don’t like the video, maybe
drop me a quick note in the comments to tell me what you’d like to change, and I’ll do
my best to make those changes for you. Okay, so, ASMR stands for Automatic Sensory
Meridian Response. And, it describes a spontaneous, intense, non-sexual euphoria that is usually
triggered by an external stimuli. What does it feel like? So, it starts as a
tingle at the back of your head that then moves down to your neck, to your spine. Studies have shown
that the most common trigger is a whispering voice. The second most common
trigger is receiving personal attention. So, having your hair cut, your nails painted,
maybe your ears cleaned, whilst the service provider just speaks gently to you. Other
triggers include relaxing hand movements; nail tapping or scratching; brushing sounds;
lip-smacking; repetitive, but mundane sounds, so, one of the most popular is listening to the
turning pages of a book. [TURNING PAGES] Also, watching someone complete mundane tasks
can trigger ASMR, for example, food preparation, also, eating noises—crunching and chewing
can trigger the response. Now, ASMR can also be triggered by internal
stimuli. In particular, meditation can trigger the response. The benefits are, well, most
importantly, most commonly, a very deep relaxation. But ASMR may also help to lift your mood and
reduce pain. But, at the moment, these benefits—of anecdotal tests—there’s no research looking
at benefits just yet. Okay, so, ASMR has been compared to two other
phenomena. The first one is something called Auditory Tactile Synesthesia, and this is
where one sensory pathway triggers an automatic experience in another. For example, someone
may hear a word, and then, also, at the same time, experience a texture. It’s also been
compared to something called frisson, which is the French word for shiver. And the best
example of this is when you get goosebumps when you are listening
to a piece of music. Okay, so, let’s talk a little bit about the
history of ASMR. Now, interestingly, Virginia Woolf seems to describe it in her 1925 novel,
‘Mrs Dalloway’, where she describes the way that the nursemaid talks to a patient. I’ll
read you the passage now. “…deeply, softly, like a mellow organ, but
with a roughness in her voice like a grasshopper’s, which rasped his spine deliciously and sent
running up into his brain waves of sound…” In terms of the contemporary history of ASMR,
in 2007, there was a post on a health forum, where someone described an experience that
they’d had since childhood, that they compared to when someone traces their fingers up and
down your arm, but they reported that it occurred, apparently in response to random events like
listening to a story being read. And this post then triggered numerous discussions,
which led to the creation of many, many forums to discuss the experience of ASMR.
But, it wasn’t until 2016 that ASMR was actually given the name ASMR, by a woman called Jennifer
Allen. And, since then, lots and lots of forums have sprung up where you can find out about
ASMR. Particularly on YouTube, you will find lots of videos of people whispering, of people
brushing their hair, of role-plays, of people eating.
A little bit maybe, now, about the evolutionary origins of ASMR. It’s thought that there might
be a connection to the grooming behaviour that we see in primates, which is very much
about bonding, rather than cleaning. And this is backed up by brain imaging, that shows
that the area of the brain that is associated with social bonding and also sensory experiences
is activated when someone is experiencing ASMR. This very much fits with the most common
trigger of ASMR, which is listening to somebody whisper to you. This is a very intimate, nurturing,
personal experience, that creates an atmosphere where you feel very special and connected
to somebody. It’s also similar to an aspect of therapy or counselling, where you experience
a very close, connected relationship with your counsellor or your therapist—that’s
often referred to as ‘reparenting’. Now, unfortunately, not everybody experiences
ASMR, and brain imaging has shown a pattern—there is actually a difference in the brains of
people who experience it, versus people who don’t. There’s a part of the brain called
the ‘default mode network’, and this is the part of the brain that is activated when we
are daydreaming, or our mind is wandering, and this part of the brain behaves very differently
in people who experience ASMR, versus those that don’t.
So, when I do ASMR, I’m going to try to include relaxation and meditation techniques, so that
even if you don’t experience it, you can still get some benefit from the video.
Okay, so, I hope that this was helpful. If it was, let me know; if it wasn’t, let me
know. And, maybe, if you aren’t already a part of my community, consider subscribing,
and, of course, hit that notification bell, so you don’t miss anything good.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you for watching, and I will see you



  • Mariam

    When you speak in a low voice I feel psychological comfort❤️

  • MeD El Aatfi

    I like your video thanx honey ❤

  • The ASMR Psychologist

    Hi everyone, sorry about the distortion at 02:07, still getting used to my mic, bare with me, if you can xx

  • Afrah Minhaj

    Wow so comforting. I want more videos like this!

  • Audrey Perez

    Absolutely brilliant idea. I love this, I hope you continue for a long time to come. Exactly what I need to relax

  • The ASMR Psychologist

    Ask me a question here

  • samar zardi

    I feel something different when i hear you😢so relax

  • Cee Bee

    Instant tingles

  • Freedom Rings

    The triggers were too harsh, but the whispering voice was amazing!

  • Charlie Rowe-Smith

    Just some feedback – I could not listen to this because of the sound that your mouth is making.. ie hearing the smacking sounds.. 🧏🏼‍♀️… sorry not a dig at you just data collection for you

  • Jimmy Joe Parker

    Gosh you're cute

  • Shelley

    Perfect ASMR whispering voice. Thank you for your videos. 🙂🙂🙂

  • Mr KB

    Are you sitting on the floor (poor woman)

  • Mr KB

    Can you do eating it satisies me

  • janice castillo

    Love the mouth sounds.

  • Molly2209

    Please do another whispering video like this, it’s very relaxing xx

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