By Brandon Waldrop:
A slight tingling on the back of the scalp, the hairs begin to rise on the back of your neck and a slight brain-orgasm seems to be underway. No, these are not psilocybin influences here from magic mushrooms, or any effects from lysergic acid and free love going on. This individual is simply wearing headphones and experiencing an autonomous sensory meridian response, also known as ASMR.
ASMR is a sedative sensation that starts in a person’s brain and tends to bring a high state of relaxation over one’s body. People are using ASMR videos to relax and wind down for a good night’s rest. They are also used to bring up old nostalgic feelings. All you have to do is simply put on some headphones and play one of currently 5.2 million different ASMR videos on YouTube.
“I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds badass,” said Tristen Tijerina, an engineering major. Other students were instantly curious and eager to learn more.
“It was like listening to a white noise, like a constant fan or dryer blowing and was more annoying than relaxing to me,” said Cassie Morgan, a pre-med student, after listening to an ASMR video.
Unlike Morgan, many people find ASMR relaxing and addictive, but scientists can’t explain exactly how it works. Although it is known what an autonomous sensory meridian response looks and feels like, the science behind it is still unclear. Psychology has been taking notice of it more lately, but further studies are behind and needed. It’s hard to pin down the euphoric tingles in one particular person’s body and trace it to why it is happening. For now, ASMR remains in the stagnant gray area between science and pseudoscience, but scientists hope that further studies will be able to pinpoint the exact reason behind the meridian response.