Tingles, Triggers and Therapeutic Sensations: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) among Young Adults

  • Vi-Vian Loy Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
  • Fitri Suraya Mohamad Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Keywords: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, ASMR, psychological effects, mindfulness, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, IPA, PERMA Model


This qualitative study explored the experiences of university students watching Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos towards psychological effects and mindfulness. ASMR experiences were shown to phenomenologically overlapped with mindfulness and well-being. This study entailed a phenomenological research method used in determining the nature of human experiences regarding a phenomenon through the descriptions of participants in the study. Snowball sampling method was used whereby locating the additional informants was expanded through the recommendation of others for interview. The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning, Accomplishment (PERMA) Model were employed to analyse written interview transcripts. Findings revealed how participants viewed ASMR as applicable to enhance their well-being. ASMR is also seen as a potential benefit for participants to improve mindfulness; Participants also reported a better ability to cope with stress and a notable reduction in perception of cognitive workload. A future inquiry could investigate the effects of ASMR on specific cognitive activities.


Barratt E. L, Davis N. J. 2015. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): A flow-like mental state. PeerJ, 3, e851. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.851

Chan, K. W. (2020). Phenomenological study about enhancing university student’s psychosocial well-being through YouTube videos: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) in Finland (Master's thesis). The University of Lapland. https://lauda.ulapland.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/64317/Chan Ko Wai.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Chung, P. K., & Zhang, C. Q. (2014). Psychometric validation of the Toronto Mindfulness Scale–Trait version in Chinese college students. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 10(4), 726-739.

Ciufudean, A. (2020, July 11). Could ASMR be the antidote to lockdown loneliness? The Focus. https://www.thefocus.news/opinion/asmr-lock-down-loneliness/

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach (4th ed.). Sage Publications.

Fredborg, B., Clark, J. M., & Smith, S. D. (2017). An examination of personality traits associated with autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). Frontiers in Psychology, 8:247. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00247

Fredborg, B. K., Clark, J. M., & Smith, S. D. (2018). Mindfulness and autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). PeerJ, 6, e5414. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5414

Fusch, P. I., & Ness, L. R. (2015). Are we there yet? Data saturation in qualitative research. Qualitative Report, 20(9), 1408–1416.

Gallagher, R. (2016). Eliciting euphoria online: The aesthetics of “ASMR” video culture. Film Criticism, 40(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/fc.13761232.0040.202

Groenewald, T. (2004). A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(1), 42–55. https://doi.org/10.1177/160940690400300104

Harper, P. C. (2020). ASMR: bodily pleasure, online performance, digital modality. Sound Studies, 6(1), 95-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/20551940.2019.1681574

Keiles, J. L. (2019, April 4). How ASMR became a sensation. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/04/magazine/how-asmr-videos-became-a-sensation-youtube.html

Kern, M. L., Waters, L. E., Adler, A., & White, M. A. (2015). A multidimensional approach to measuring well-being in students: Application of the PERMA framework. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(3), 262-271. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2014.936962

Larkin, M., & Thompson, A. (2012). Interpretative phenomenological analysis. Qualitative research methods in mental health and psychotherapy: A guide for students and practitioners, 99-116. John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781119973249

Liu, M., & Zhou, Q. (2019). A preliminary compilation of a digital video library on triggering autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR): A trial among 807 Chinese college students. Frontiers in Psychology, 10: 2274.

Pietkiewicz, I., & Smith, J. A. (2014). A practical guide to using interpretative phenomenological analysis in qualitative research psychology. Psychological Journal, 20(1), 7-14. doi: 10.14691/CPPJ.20.1.7

Poerio, G. L., Blakey, E., Hostler, T. J & Veltri, T. (2018). More than a feeling: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is characterised by reliable changes in effect and physiology. PLOS ONE, 13(6). https://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0196645

Seligman, M. E. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Simon and Schuster.

Smith, S. D., Fredborg, B. K., & Kornelsen, J. (2019). Atypical functional connectivity associated with autonomous sensory meridian response: An examination of five resting-state networks. Brain Connectivity, 9(6), 508-518.

Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2013). The differential susceptibility to media effects model. Journal of Communication, 63, 221–243. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12024

How to Cite
Loy, V.-V., & Mohamad , F. S. (2021). Tingles, Triggers and Therapeutic Sensations: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) among Young Adults. Journal of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, 7(2), 11-25. https://doi.org/10.33736/jcshd.3813.2021