L is for Lie

| March 22, 2014

This post is a lie. It is actually not about lies at all. It’s not even directly linked to the letter “L.” It’s about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, but since I had already used up my “A” post on “Alliteration” (so much regret…), I decided to attempt to be clever and hijack another letter for it instead. My apologies, but you have to write about what interests you, right? :)

A few days ago, I was talking with my dad, and he brought up that he had heard on the radio about something he had always had but had never realized was a “thing.” Apparently, as a child, he would tag along with his mother to the fabric store. Whenever fabric was being cut, he would fall into almost a trance-like state of elated calm. By chance on the radio, he heard about other people who have similar strong reactions to fairly ordinary actions (like paper being crinkled, or someone puts on makeup), and that it is called an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).

I, for one, have never had such an experience and thought it a little strange, so I decided to look into it. Although in some contexts it is referred to as a “brain massage” or even “head orgasm,” it really is more of a mesmerized sense of pure euphoria brought on by a tingling sensation in the brain as a reaction to these sensory stimuli. Sometimes, just the sound is enough to create this, but for others, the combined audio-visual makes the response stronger. Here is a short video about it:


Given the context of our class and our discussion of aesthetic experiences, it is really interesting to see this example of people having extremely strong aesthetic experiences to everyday sounds and stimuli. There is a lot of research that need to be done around it, but the fact that so many have this shared, similar response (albeit, to different stimuli), is fascinating. Although something like ripping paper or cutting fabric isn’t art, the experience it creates for those who experience ASMR seems to almost go even beyond typical aesthetic experiences. Now that more are recognizing it, “ASMRtists” are emerging on Youtube, videotaping these actions as almost a form of art in order to prompt this response in those who experience it:

Sources: The Guardian, Wikipedia