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ASMR: Being triggered by ‘ordinary sounds and sights’ may be more than pseudoscience

| | December 12, 2019

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

What do the sounds of whispering, crinkling paper, and tapping fingernails have in common? What about the sight of soft paint brushes on skin, soap being gently cut to pieces, and hand movements like turning the pages of a book? Well, if you are someone who experiences the autonomous sensory meridian response—or ASMR, for short—you may recognize these seemingly ordinary sounds and sights as “triggers” for the ASMR experience.

One 2018 study recorded participants’ physiological responses while watching ASMR videos. There was a clear difference between those who self-identified as experiencing ASMR and those who did not: The ASMR group experienced reduced heart rates and increased skin conductance, which basically means a tiny increase in sweating. This was a very interesting pattern of findings, because it showed that the ASMR experience was both calming (shown by the reduced heart rate) and arousing (shown by the increased skin conductance).

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The problem with this brain imaging study is that there was no non-ASMR comparison group, so it’s possible that anybody watching the ASMR videos the researchers used could have had a similar response. But this just means that more research is needed—how exciting!

Read full, original post: Is ASMR Real or Just a Pseudoscience?

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