Looking into the Science of Braingasms
The sounds of heels echoing off the walls of a long hallway, the tapping of acrylic nails on a hard
surface, rain droplets falling from the sky and collecting into one big puddle that’s streaming
down the road, lost and never to be seen again. This is ASMR. For some, these sounds may be
the most miniscule and insignificant, but for others, they mean so much more.
Who came up with this?
The term “ASMR” was coined by a non-scientist Jennifer Allen, who had been wanting to give this
new trending sensation a name. In order for everyone to be on the same page to discuss the
theory, they first had to officially define and name the unique phenomenon. After a title was
granted, research studies were designed and carried out globally in order to study the psychology
and biology behind its (potentially VERY beneficial) health effects.
What’s the big deal?
It’s okay to ask WHY people love these sounds so much, especially if you yourself don’t
experience the sensation associated with them. Simply stated, particular sounds and visuals
produce a tingling-like warmth that travels over the scalp and down the neck of the listener.
According to researchers, ASMR occurs in response to “specific triggering audio and visual
stimuli,” and the sensation is reported to be “accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-
being.” So, this means listening to ASMRDarling whispering on her YouTube channel can cause
a lulling-to-sleep effect for some.
But who are those some people that experience this effect? Well, it has something to do with the
Five Factor Personality Scale Theory you learned in that Intro to Psychology class you slept
through. According to Psychology Today, those who experienced ASMR had significantly
higher ratings on openness to experience and neuroticism and lower rates of agreeableness,
extraversion, and conscientiousness. In other words, you’ll be able to figure out who enjoys these
peculiar sounds just by asking a few questions, getting to know their astrological birth chart, and
then seeing if their personality matches the traits of the ASMR-prone individuals. Easy!
Can this get rid of my anxiety?
We talked earlier about the potential advantageous health effects that listening to someone
chewing food could have. But let’s discuss if these health benefits are actually before we get our
laptops out, AirPods in and GentleWhispering’s YouTube vids rolling.
The same researchers at Psychology Today also claimed that ASMR viewers were found to have
“increased positive emotional states, decreased heart rate and increased skin conductance.”
Perhaps this is because ASMR provides us with a new way to finally shut our brains off and
relax while focusing on nothing but noise. Similar to a form of psychological relaxation training
or behavior management, ASMR seems to ease and comfort the minds of those who can’t stop
thinking, which also does wonders to their physical health. So, while we don’t know for sure if
this concept is actually effective at decreasing anxiety or depression in those who are clinically
diagnosed, we haven’t yet seen it do any harm thus far, which gives it a promising look for the
Why others despise ASMR
The easy answer would be their zodiac personality doesn’t match those who are able to
experience ASMR. But could it be something other than that? Because so many ASMR
YouTubers are younger, particularly attractive females and engage in personal and borderline
intrusive behaviors like eating, putting makeup on, and other private activities, some viewers
may actually feel uncomfortable by watching people (younger women) complete these actions.
Stephen Smith, a professor of psychology at the University of Winnipeg, states the disdain for
ASMR “relates to the scenarios that are being depicted.” He believes that the “voyeuristic quality
of the videos could be off putting to some viewers.”
You’ll never know unless you try. Maybe engaging with these audios and visuals is something
you never knew you needed. Jerk is encouraging you to try it out, and get back to us with your
brutal, pleasant, honest experiences.