Unless you have been living completely out of the internet loop, you’ve probably heard of ASMR. This is a phenomenon that has generated a ton of interest. Part of this may be due to the fact that few if any, people can really say what ASMR is. It’s a mystery that leaves scientific experts and fans alike scrambling for answers.
What is ASMR and Why is it Sweeping the Web?
ASMR is an acronym that equals out to Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is the focus of a strange new phenomenon that is sweeping the world wide web. Everywhere you go on channels like Vimeo, YouTube, and Dailymotion, you can find thousands of these videos. The range of subject matter they can encompass is absolutely enormous.
Why are these ASMR videos so incredibly popular? Some people will naturally dismiss it as a typical “flash in the pan” trend, somewhat akin to “This year’s Kung Fu craze.” But for many others, there is a great deal more to the story.
Part of the reason for their prevalence may be the ease with which they can be made and then uploaded to the web. When all you need is a soft voice, a carrot, or electric toothbrush, it’s obvious you aren’t racking up a billion dollars in special effects. And it seems like you don’t even really have to have a subject to whisper about.
What Are Some of the Main Characteristics of ASMR Videos?
The main characteristic of a run of the mill ASMR video seems to be a heavy reliance on whispering. This is if the uploader of the video chooses to speak at all. If they do, you will usually receive 10 or 15 minutes of whispering in a voice just barely above the threshold of auditory apprehension.
The subject can range from sublime to purely banal. You may hear a woman reading off a grocery list or posing as an eye doctor reading the contents of an eye chart. Some videos are more sexual in theme, sometimes even explicit, but these account for only a fraction of the total volume. Most are family-friendly if a bit mysterious.
Another seemingly major component of the average ASMR video is harder to classify. In general, it seems that major ASMR uploaders and fans alike seem to have a much higher appreciation than the average person for crunching noises. This includes a fandom for crunchy foods such as raw honeycomb.
What is the Scientific Basis of the Appeal of ASMR?
One thing that major fans of the ASMR video trend seem to have in common is that draw an unprecedented level of satisfaction from watching them. This has led many people to wonder if there is a scientific basis for this uncommon level of sheer appreciation. To date, however, no such study has been undertaken by certified industry experts.
Many have pointed to the “tingly” feeling that watching ASMR videos seems to trigger in some people. This is a phenomenon that some have compared to a sort of pleasurable headache. It’s a vague feeling, a sensation, that some people experience from hearing a whispering voice or the soft crunching of carrots or dry peas.
“Triggers” take different forms in the minds of different people. Some rely on the presence of purely external triggers while others prefer to respond to internally based stimuli. ASMR seems to be a very rare and hard to classify combination of both types of triggers. There are sounds in the videos that produce both of them at once.
As a result, some people consume dozens of these videos per week while others are left completely baffled and unmoved by them. This points to a discrepancy in sensation reception that deserves to be more closely studied.
ASMR is a Trend That Will Continue to Draw Attention
If many things concerning the ASMR trend seem to be draped in a deep layer of mystery, one thing is surely clear: This is a trend that is continuing to draw wide levels of attention. Even if no one is sure why they are watching, ASMR definitely garners a great deal of response. This is a major trend to take notice of in the 2020s.