Autonomous sensory meridian response  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a claimed biological phenomenon, characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation often felt in the head, scalp or peripheral regions of the body in response to various visual and auditory stimuli. The phenomenon was first noted through internet culture such as blogs and online videos. Tom Stafford, a professor at the University of Sheffield, says "It might well be a real thing, but it's inherently difficult to research."

Comparison with frisson

The tingling sensation that characterises ASMR has been compared and contrasted to 'frisson', which is a French word for 'shiver'.

However, the English word 'shiver' signifies the rhythmic involuntary contraction of skeletal muscles which serves the function of generating heat in response to low temperatures, has variable duration, and is often reported subjectively as unpleasant. By distinction, the French word 'frisson', signifies a brief sensation usually reported as pleasurable and often expressed as an overwhelming emotional response to stimuli, such as a piece of music. Frisson often occurs simultaneously with piloerection, colloquially known as 'goosebumps', by which tiny muscles called arrector pili contract, causing body hair, particularly that on the limbs and back of the neck, to erect or 'stand on end'.

Despite such comparisons, there is a majority consensus among those who form the 'ASMR community' that autonomous sensory meridian response is distinct from frisson; accordingly, moderators of the ASMR subreddit, which is the largest online focus of discussions on the subject with over 100,000 users, stipulate that topics related to frisson should be posted to the Frisson subreddit.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Autonomous sensory meridian response" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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