Fans of ASMR videos are more sensitive to their surroundings, study finds

Fans of ASMR videos are more likely to be sensitive to their surroundings and their feelings, research from the University of Essex has found.

ASMR, which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, has swept the internet with millions watching viral clips of whispered voices, delicate hand movements or tapping.

Mysteriously, only some people experience this relaxing tingling sensation that travels down the spine.

Dr. Giulia Poerio, from the Department of Psychology, has found that those who experience it are hypersensitive to the world around them.

Research published in The Journal of Research in Personality found that they are more bothered by noise and movement and are easily overstimulated.

They are also more attuned to their bodily sensations, such as noticing physical changes when feeling emotions.

Dr Poerio said: “It really is a double edged sword.

“Highly sensitive people can experience extremely pleasurable sensations like ASMR, but this high sensitivity also has downsides.

“For example, the sound of a pen clicking or someone chewing gum could trigger a negative reaction, which others would simply ignore.”

Over 500 participants were recruited for the study and assessed for the ASMR experiment and measured for sensory sensitivity.

Dr. Poerio now hopes to build on the findings to explain how and why intensely positive emotions are felt, which could lead to new therapeutic techniques.

“We know much less about positive emotions than about negative emotions, especially when considering complex emotional experiences like ASMR,” Dr. Poerio added.

“I’m interested in trying to understand these understudied emotions so that we can find ways to improve them in people’s daily lives.”

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Material provided by University of Essex. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

John C. Dent