a Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) It refers to the phenomenon in which the perception of certain auditory and visual stimuli causes an intense, pleasurable tingling sensation in the neck and scalp, often spreading to the rest of the body. This sensation is often followed by feelings of relaxation and calm, leaving the experiencer calm and happy.
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Since its discovery, the creation and consumption of ASMR content online has skyrocketed, with over 500,000 channels and over 2.5 million YouTube videos dedicated to stimulating ASMR in viewers. While this exciting phenomenon leaves some in a state of euphoria, others may not be receptive to ASMR. Why does this response occur? Who is most vulnerable to this? Here are some answers.
MRI studies reveal that those with ASMR have decreased functional connectivity in the brain’s default mode network during resting states. The default mode network is a network of brain regions associated with introspection and mind-wandering, and is generally inactive when we are focused on tasks, but active when our mind is at rest. Other studies show that people who are sensitive to ASMR have increased activity in certain areas of the brain, including the medial prefrontal cortex (associated with self-awareness and social cognition), the nucleus accumbens (associated with the brain’s reward system), and the anterior cingulate. and isolation (both associated with emotional arousal).
Researchers found increased alpha wave activity in participants with ASMR, which is associated with states of meditation and relaxation. This effect was not observed in participants who did not experience ASMR.
By delving deeper into the wonderful world of ASMR, it becomes clear that this phenomenon is not uniform across the population. Some individuals are more sensitive to ASMR than others, and psychologists now suggest that certain personality traits are associated with greater sensitivity to ASMR, and these sensitive individuals may reap benefits from ASMR without knowing it.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology determined which of the Big Five personality traits — openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness — were most strongly linked to ASMR sensitivity. Researchers found that individuals who were more extroverted and neurotic had greater sensitivity to ASMR than other personalities.
Given these findings, those who are open to new experiences may be attracted to the new and unconventional sensory delights of ASMR. On the other hand, neurotic individuals, who struggle with their heightened emotional sensitivity, can find solace in the calming effects of ASMR, and use it as a way to relieve stress and emotional tension. Your attention to detail and complex internal worlds may also play a role in your increased sensitivity to complex ASMR stimuli.
Improved mood. The study suggests that ASMR has the potential to improve mood by reducing feelings of depression, especially in individuals who are sensitive to ASMR. Decrease in heart rate. Simply watching ASMR videos can actually reduce heart rate, regardless of whether individuals are sensitive to ASMR or not. Thus, the calming effects of ASMR may have broader applications in promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Regulating attention. ASMR can be linked to increased arousal and a state of focused attention, almost like being in “the zone” or a highly absorbed state of mind. So, it’s not just about relaxing; There is an element of deep engagement too.
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