Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): a flow-like mental state

PeerJ. 2015 Mar 26:3:e851. doi: 10.7717/peerj.851. eCollection 2015.


Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a previously unstudied sensory phenomenon, in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck and at times further areas in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli. This sensation is widely reported to be accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being. The current study identifies several common triggers used to achieve ASMR, including whispering, personal attention, crisp sounds and slow movements. Data obtained also illustrates temporary improvements in symptoms of depression and chronic pain in those who engage in ASMR. A high prevalence of synaesthesia (5.9%) within the sample suggests a possible link between ASMR and synaesthesia, similar to that of misophonia. Links between number of effective triggers and heightened flow state suggest that flow may be necessary to achieve sensations associated with ASMR.

Keywords: ASMR; Autonomous sensory meridian response; Chronic pain; Depression; Flow state; Meditation; Mindfulness; Misophonia; Synaesthesia; Synesthesia.

Grants and funding

The authors declare there was no funding for this work.