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Stephanie Mengoa-Fleming and Abbie Greenwood


Year of study:


Does Science back the benefits of ASMR? Exploring Affection vs Aversion through biological responses


The growing interest in Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) has prompted an exploration into the potential therapeutic benefits of ASMR videos, where creators craft sounds and visuals to induce a sense of euphoria and tranquility. ASMR, characterized by a tingling sensation, has captivated millions who seek relaxation, while others remain skeptical.
Previous ASMR studies have primarily focused on individuals who enjoy ASMR, leaving the exploration of skeptics relatively uncharted. Moreover, previous research has concentrated on subjective qualitative scoring, leaving some underlying biological mechanisms unclear. This study investigates the physiological responses to ASMR experiences, also exploring Virtual Reality as a stress management tool. Drawing on prior research, our study aims to explore the connections between ASMR, personality, and gender.
In a controlled experiment with 30 participants, we examined heart rate, skin response, cortisol levels, and brain activity in both 2D and 3D ASMR experiences. Additionally, participants underwent Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) assessments, revealing a significant correlation between participant personality scores and their affinity for enjoying the videos.
The findings of this research suggest that compared to resting state, ASMR videos can result in decreased heart rate and cortisol levels, indicating ASMR’s potential for inducing relaxation, irrespective of their initial skepticism or enthusiasm. We observed differences when comparing cohorts, suggesting the influence of personality and preference in the experience. Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not find an amplified physiological response in 3D ASMR videos compared to 2D ASMR videos.
This study contributed to the growing body of evidence supporting ASMR as a potential stress-management tool; offering scientific validation to online content creators and appealing to a diverse audience interested in the intersection of technology, psychology and wellness.


We are Neuroscience students in our 4th year, both currently undertaking a work-placement as part of our Masters. As lab partners in 3rd year we bonded over our interest in the effects that we both experienced from watching ASMR videos, and fell in love with the idea of investigating and proving this effect for ourselves. Our idea snowballed into a summer project, funded by the Life Sciences Vacation Scholarship, involving a comparison of viewing experiences in 2D and using virtual reality technology, in a mixed population of self-proclaimed \"lovers\" and \"skeptics\", using physiological and brain activity measurements. Although both working full time now at our internships in London and in Glasgow, data analysis for the project has taken place on weekends and evenings, with regular calls between our cities. We are strong believers in multidisciplinary work, and knowledge exchange between subjects to get the most out of our findings. We hope that our research sparks an interest in ASMR in the wider academic community, and hope to share our excitement of the topic with you all.

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