Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

Christian Bautista, Mark Diego, Kimberly Rodejo

What is ASMR?

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ASMR, also known as, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, can be described simply as a variety of soothing SENSATIONS (eg, tingles, relaxation, calmness, sleepiness) due to a variety of gentle STIMULI (eg, whispering, soft talking, light touches, methodical sounds).” (“What is ASMR?”, 2017) ASMR creates sensation and stimulate feelings of euphoria as well as trigger the calmness in anxious and insomniac people.

It’s still a growing online community that isn’t showing any signs to stop anytime soon. It’s considered a free way to deal with insomnia, depression, and anxiety instead of using pills to help relieve the symptoms.  ASMR is essentially what you feel when you watch the videos that stimulate triggers in your body to respond. The responses could vary from goose bumps, neck tingling and body tingling. Despite what people think, ASMR is not used in a sexual way even though the videos consist of what seems to be sexual whispers and sounds.

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The main platform that people use to watch and listen to ASMR videos is on YouTube. There are thousands and thousands of videos uploaded on YouTube that range from videos that help induce sleep to videos that include girls putting their makeup on without talking, only “communicating” through a series of sounds. These “sounds” also known as triggers stimulate the audience’s senses.

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Significance of Study

  1. To observe whether ASMR truly has an impact.
  2. To understand the need for ASMR and why it continues to strive.
  3. To discover if using ASMR can be used to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Where to look for the ASMR community?

The ASMR online community bonds people with anxiety, depression and insomnia in the comment section of the videos uploaded on YouTube. They give each other encouraging words despite being total strangers. There have been evidences on the comment section from individuals expressing their gratitude for the YouTuber who uploaded ASMR videos as it helps them with their anxiety and so forth.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 1.49.19 PM

This particular online community is international as there are different people of different backgrounds and cultures uploading and commenting on ASMR videos. April 9th every year is International ASMR Day. This day was created to “promote ASMR in a positive way so that other people who deal with sleeping problems or high levels of stress for example can give ASMR a shot.” (Blansert, 2014)

The online community is mainly found and most active on YouTube, in comparison to Facebook. The largest population on a Facebook page is 15,371 and counting, whereas on YouTube there are hundreds of “YouTubers” that have a million and more subscribers.

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A famous YouTuber, ASMR Darling, real name Taylor Darling, created her first ASMR video on March 12, 2016 and uploaded it on YouTube. The video called “ASMR Whispered Bubbly Makeup Roleplay” .To highlight how fast and rapid the ASMR community is growing, her channel now has 1,213,429 subscribers and counting.

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Her most popular upload is “ASMR 10 Triggers to Help You Sleep”. The video featured her whisper talking to her audience, brushing the microphone, tapping a plastic container, tapping and flipping through a book and many more.

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This phenomenon continues to grow each day, as now there are more incentives for people to upload videos on YouTube. “YouTube pays on average $2 per 1,000 views if you run ads on your videos.” (Castillo, 2017)

Scouting For Data

For this research, we mainly used the interview and observation methods.

We scouted for voluntary participants by posting on our social media pages.

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We had a particular target in mind to interview, we wanted to look for people who listened to ASMR videos to help them with their anxiety, insomnia or depression and ease it through ASMR.

We interviewed 4 people in total. From the gathered information, we drew the conclusion that there are more people dealing with insomnia due to workload and schoolwork. They listen to ASMR videos on YouTube to help and induce sleep and help with anxiety.

Here are 2 of our online interviews from people who listens to ASMR:

Interview #1:

  • Male, college student
  • Has insomnia and struggles with anxiety
  • Listens to ASMR every night

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Interview #2:  

  • Female, college student
  • Has insomnia because of school work
  • Listens to 5 nights in a row, alternating every week

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 Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 1.55.19 PM.png

We also observed the comments on the YouTube videos on ASMR. A lot of the comments were about the subscriber’s experience with anxiety/depression/ insomnia and how the videos helped them. From those comments come replies of encouragement and many more. For example, a person would comment about how he’s dealing with insomnia and strangers would reply to him expressing that he’s not dealing it alone and that there are many more that suffer with insomnia too. This shows that there is a sense of comfort in this online community as individuals help each other and they show that they’re not alone.

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Another observation was reading comments about a person dealing with depression who talks about his struggles online and how the ASMR video that he’s watching helped him calm down and distract his mind from elsewhere. Strangers would respond by expressing their sympathy and even share their own story and the struggles that they face. There’s a strong sense of belonging and that’s present when people share their vulnerable side and read that they’re not the only one dealing with problems.

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The Common Thread

The pervading culture in this online community is the satisfying physical and emotional feeling that triggers majority of those who listen and watch ASMR videos on YouTube, merely through tapping sounds, whispers/murmurs, cutting of hair, crinkling of plastic and cap opening. Now as to why, the common reasons why they watch ASMR videos are mainly due to insomnia and anxiety problems.

There are a lot of experiences and advice shared throughout the entire comment section and it shows that the community acts like a family. They act as a family would, offering support and comfort to the person in need.

All the individuals we’ve interviewed have a common behavioral trend, specifically those who are depressed, sleep deprived and those who also have anxiety as well. The information we have gathered made us more open minded about ASMR as we would like to raise awareness. It is interesting to know that ASMR can calm down a person who has difficulty to relieve stress.

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Our group concept focuses on individuals who gain benefit with the use of ASMR as a means of dealing with depression, anxiety and insomnia. To be more specific, our goal is to increase the level of awareness regarding ASMR.

Conclusion

The ASMR community is successful and continues to strive because it helps people with their sleeping problems. There is a great need for this because not only does it help them physically but it also benefits the individuals mentally. Their mental health is a strong reason why ASMR is incredibly demanded in the community and why people continue to upload ASMR videos.

The ASMR community also got bigger because of the people who watched it are sharing it to others that also needs the attention. For example, the people we interviewed relieved their stress, by watching ASMR videos and it’s been proven that their stress level has fallen. This has similar results to individuals who look for comfort during anxiety attacks, there are ASMR videos that are catered just for anxiety attacks which would help.

Some of them watch it for their panic attacks, helps them to calm down, think properly and lessen their anxiety. This is one of the factors that made the culture exist and bloom in 2014 until now. They also called it “Brain orgasm” because of gratification it gives the viewers.

Bibliography

Blansert, I. (2016, February 07). 5 Reasons Why International ASMR Day Was Born.

Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.thewaterwhispers.com/blog/5-reasons-why-international-asmr-day-was-born/

Castillo, M. (2017, February 19). These people make a living with bizarre repetitive

YouTube videos that give users ‘pins and needles’. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/17/youtube-asmr-videos-what-are.html

Darling, T. (2016, March 12). ASMR Whispered Bubbly Makeup Roleplay. From

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WckzJYfCFU&t=1s

Darling, T. (2016, August 15). ASMR 10 Triggers to Help You Sleep. From  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RjhsY06mOI&t=1469s

What is ASMR? (2017, November 19). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from

https://asmruniversity.com/about-asmr/what-is-asmr/

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