ASMR Triggers Work

How exactly do you get “the tingles” and why?

ASMR Triggers Work: There are some weird ASMR videos out there. ASMR gaming? You got it. ASMR allergy testing? Right here. ASMR Medieval Tavern? Yup. Pretty much any ASMR category you can dream up, you can find online somewhere. 

ASMR — or autonomous sensory meridian response — is used by some to help trigger sleep or deep meditation, or just for the pleasure of the “tingles,” the physical responses to the sounds. Sounds used to trigger ASMR can be anything, from papers flipping to whispering or the sound of makeup brushes on a microphone. 


But why, exactly, do those tingling sensations happen? The tingling sensations themselves, which some classify as “brain orgasms,” are usually felt on the scalp and the back of the head and neck. The tingling also starts in the brain but can move throughout the whole body. A new article from Mic explains the science of ASMR and offers an answer as to why some sounds trigger tingles and some don’t.

Robert Froemke, a professor of otolaryngology, neuroscience, and physiology at NYU School of Medicine, says that certain sounds can activate the brain “beyond the conventional auditory pathway,” which can trigger tingles depending on where the brain itself is activated.

28 ASMR Triggers for Anxiety Relief, Sleep, and More

Some sounds, like tapping, are pleasurable to hear because they have the same repetitive sounds like music in our minds. Other sounds are pleasurable because they have some nostalgic or personal connection to us psychiatrist Sean Paul explained for Mic.

“It is theorized that certain triggers work better for some people than others depending on their experiences in life…These things trigger a pleasant memory or something in the subconscious that is soothing to that person,” Paul said. 

Whether that means the safety of getting your hair cut, like in one popular video, or another scenario entirely, the comfort of a given situation triggers relaxation, making ASMR a truly personal experience from listener to listener.

ASMR: what we know so far about this unique brain phenomenon – and what we don’t

ASMR is the third most popular search term on youtube worldwide. But in case you haven’t heard of it, it stands for an autonomous sensory meridian response.

ASMR is a complex emotional state that only some people experience when they hear, see, and feel certain “triggers,” such as whispering, delicate hand movements, and light touch. The feeling is described as a tingling sensation beginning at the crown of the head which can spread down the neck and limbs. The tingling sensation comes in waves and is a “trance-like” immersive state accompanied by feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Interest in ASMR has exploded over the past ten years since the term was coined. What started as a short whispering video on YouTube in 2009 has since gone viral. So-called “ASMRtists” gather millions of views on their videos which can elicit this trance-like state of euphoric relaxation.

Unfortunately, research hasn’t quite matched public enthusiasm, with only a handful of journal articles on the topic. So in order to understand more about this complex phenomenon, our team has launched a research network to connect people, ideas, and resources, as the future of ASMR research takes place.




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