ASMR or “Sound is supposed to make me feel what now?”

For this Fascinated Friday, I wanted to talk about something that I don’t know a whole lot about but I am growing more and more curious.  It is called ASMR, which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

Basically, the idea is that by exposure to certain types of sounds (whispering is a very common one) people can trigger a sort of deep relaxation.  The sensation is described as a “distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli.”  (wikipedia).

Now, the science on this seems a little soft at best, but I am no scientist.  I am however a fan of pleasurable tingling sensations.  More importantly though, what I find really interesting is that videos designed to trigger this sensation have become a fairly large sub-section of Youtube.

Videos like this

As a science fiction guy, there is something about an auditory hacking of the brain software that I find kind of cool.

The other thing that I find intriguing is that there is no universal stimulus.  It seems different people respond to different sounds.  Naturally, the first thing I started to wonder about is what mine might be.  And if I found it, would it work?

When my son was an infant, my wife and I had this hair dryer type thing.  I think it was for curling, but it blew hot air and was loud.  I don’t know about these things.  i have had the same haircut since freshman year of college.  Anyway, when he was upset or fussy in his little swing, we would turn on the “Magic Wand.”  The white noise of the hair dryer would cut through his crying and cause him to stop.  He would look around in kind of a bemused confusion.

It was kind of awesome.  I am wondering if this would do the same thing for me.

I don’t know.  But i am curious to find out.

So, here’s the thing.  I think i am going to try it.  The video I embedded seems to offer hours possible triggers.  i guess i will find a time and try and check it out.  I’d like to look at this as maybe part 1 of this experiment.  Maybe another Friday, I will come back with part 2.

In the meantime, if you have tried this ASMR thing, I kind of would love to hear your experiences.  Or even just your thoughts on the subject.

Until next time, keep finding stuff you love.  Or at least stuff you find weird and cool.

-Mark

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