What is ASMR?

[WCCO-TV, August 19, 2019] ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. The videos that induce that response are among the fastest growing genres online. They’re mostly on YouTube, and show people doing everything from whispering, to brushing their hair, to tapping their desks, or drawing on paper. YouTube’s most popular ASMR-ist has seven million followers online. Others have around two million each.

There hasn’t been much peer-reviewed research on ASMR—just 11 studies since 2015. But some of the more recent research has shown the regions of the brain that are most active with ASMR are similar to the regions activated in the connections between parents and infants.

“It’s not that new of an idea,” says Dr. Ron Tarrel, a neurologist with the Noran Clinic and Abbott Northwestern. Dr. Tarrel says there’s something in neurology called synesthesia, where certain senses can cross over and make an impression on other senses.

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