Thursday, November 15, 2012

ASMR Poll: Which Sense do you rely on most to Trigger ASMR Events?

This might peeve a few Type A experiences out there seeing as this poll is mainly geared towards Type B experiencers, but that’s not to say that it might not have any relevance to Type As at all. In fact this poll has the most options to vote for. Usually I have three or four – maybe five – but this time it’s seven!

Which sense do you rely on most to trigger ASMR events? Do you rely on sight mostly – watching someone do something? Or is it sound – listening to something, or someone talking, whispering, etc.? Maybe it’s touch, when someone gives you a massage or plays with your hair. It could be smell, or it could be taste. Maybe you don’t rely on any senses at all if you are a Type A experiencer. I was in two minds about putting down “sixth sense” as a choice, but then someone may indeed think it is linked to a sixth sense. So I’ve included it in the interests of getting as wide a spectrum of votes as I can possibly get, and being fair and unbiased as far as the theories people subscribe to goes.

Now while we may rely on more than one sense, or using more than one sense may indeed enhance (or even detract) from the entire experience, I want you try and single out the sense that does it for you the most.

So the options are:

a) Sight (visual) – you rely on sight most, and watch people performing tasks, whether in real life or via digital media (YouTube or the TV for example), and find this is your most reliable sense. Possibly even reading books or brochures may work for you.

b) Hearing/Sound (auditory) – You prefer to rely on sound to trigger ASMR events. You’ll most likely opt for the radio, podcasts, music and perhaps even listening to telemarketers on the phone (talking to them is not required) to get your hourly/daily/weekly ASMR flowing!

c) Touch (somatosensory) – You just love it when someone massages you, strokes your back, plays with your hair, or gives you a haircut. You may be more likely for this reason to hold the belief that ASMR is linked to some sort of evolutionary grooming response.

d) Smell (olfactory) – There are certain odours or aromas that consistently trigger ASMR events for you, whether it be natural or synthetic. It could be the scent of a flower, freshly cut grass, or a fragrance you take a whiff of when somebody passes you by.

e) Taste (gustatory) – There are foodstuffs or objects that actually produce these sensations and psychological effects for you. Maybe it’s an ice cube. Could be that it’s nibbling on a wooden bead. Or perhaps it’s that most reliable foodstuff: chocolate. I don’t know. You tell me!

f) Sixth sense – You believe that ASMR is linked to some sort of a sixth sense, whether that’s the supposed “spidey” sense or intuition that people talk about or something else. Some even rely on tingling sensations produced by ASMR to help tell good people or situations from bad.

g) I don’t rely on any senses – This option is for Type A experiencers just because I didn’t want them feeling too left out. You don’t rely on any senses because you don’t need external stimuli to trigger ASMR events. You might trigger ASMR events from deep thought, or meditation.

As per usual, there are 3 months or 90 days left to vote in this poll, which is on the sidebar to the right, before it closes and the results displayed here on the blog. Please feel free to add comments to this post to help explain your choice and express your opinions.


  1. I went for Hearing/Sound but my real answer is a combination of sight and sound, also touch. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

    When I seek out asmr experience on the Internet then naturally it will be sight and sound that triggers an event.

    However if I'm feeling particularly in the asmr zone (if that's a thing?) then a head massage from a good barber, or even better, a head, neck and shoulders rub or a gentle stroking of the palm of my hand from my girlfriend definitely works.

  2. I agree with Mr. Primate. I voted for hearing/sound, but what really does it for me is either the sound/visual combo in a video or listening to music and looking at scenery when I drive - which causes the most intense tingling. But just music or some sounds all alone will always work. As well as thought and meditation.

  3. I can't believe I'm not alone! I wondered about this for a long time. I could never find the words to explain the triggers... Bob Ross gets me every time!!! In addition to what I used to think was 'Smart people explaining stupid stuff.' but now I see it could just be 'instructional videos'. Now that I know theres a bunch of truggers, youtube videos, etc, I'm excited to research this more. Awesome!

  4. I feel the same than the last anonymous! This strange feeling has always been a mystery for me and I never could find any information about that. I feel really excited because today I have finally found the answer!!!
    In my case, I only have this feeling when listening to a woman "live" (it doesn't work with the TV or the radio). I have never had this feeling with a man's voice, I guess is it due to the fact that woman are more likely to have soft voices...
    Also, I have to concentrate on the voice to start feeling this; if I am concentrated in the message itself, I feel nothing. I need to focus on the sound without thinking on what she's saying.
    I would be glad if some medical research was done about this issue :/

    (Sorry for my mistakes, I'm from Spain)

    1. The same for me Spain.
      In fact it is strongest for me when I listen to someone speaking in a language I don't know. It is very strong when someone is pausing as they explain something, like being present in the birth of a thought.
      I do get it from the radio but I have to turn it up very loud. Listen to the herbal highway on NPR and see if that triggers you.

  5. Are you familiar with research or documentation describing individuals who are able to induce this physical reaction in other persons? Some ASMR phenomenon can be explained. There is a force of will, by means of auditory control and psyche. Women often use this unconsciously, learned as a form of nurture and for the purpose of intentional control. I don't mean to imply this is negative, I know it to be positive. But it can be abused. Bodies are electrically charged and physical chemistry is affected by brain reaction to pleasure or pain perceived by our six senses. When two of more receptors are involved there is a magnitude of sensation that begins with your brain and can travel down the spine in a continuation. Music is a conscious form humans use to induce pleasure and pain. A successful result is the ASMR phenomenon, while age and emotional development factor in how strongly we react. There is no simplicity to it, our chemical nature to respond is individualized and complicated. The same can be said for the other senses. ASMR is a pleasure response to complex experience drawn from fantasy and/or memory in addition to our immediate emotions. ASMR is the culmination of what each of us perceive as the best combination of physical and emotional stimuli at that specific moment. It may be briefly repeated until its power diminishes in effect. After that point it becomes a memory we may further reminisce in our desire to re-experience.
    One last point, if someone does not believe they have experienced tingling in the top of their head, they may be more tuned to taste or smell which manifests more often in the jaw before traveling to extremities, similarly to ASMR.

  6. All throughout my life, it's been different. I'm 29.
    When I was a child, it would have just been auditory. Listening to teachers talk, male or female, did it the most.
    As I got older, in my teenage years, it also started including touch- probably because I kept a buzzer-shaved head, and getting my hair cut always did it. Not necassarily the cutting/ the trimmer doing it, but the person touching my head/neck around where your spine connects to your skull.
    Around the age of 16/17, albet around the time I started using recreational drugs(pot, opiates), it stopped for a couple years, due to the drugs I'm sure. Even though I've smoked pot for roughly 10 years straight now(and still addicted to opiates), it came back(around age 20/21). Differently.
    I discovered something, your poll answer G. I could do it on my own, and even control it. I, back then, could think of a song(NIN's "Eraser", more specifically the "humming" part before the lyrics is what did it/what I used) and the "tingles" would start. I guess you could say I started "practicing" making them start, usually just isolating the "humming" sound of that song in my head. No matter where I was: work, school, hanging out, talking to people, etc. I eventually could make it start whenever I wanted to, make it feel stronger or weaker, and where it started on my body.

    For the longest time I could never find a reasonably good explanation for what was happening. When I was young I thought it was just me or that I was kind of "special", and it continued on like that until about 5 years or so ago, even though I had asked every person I knew if they experienced anything similar. Everyone I had talked to generally seemed to think I was "crazy" or had no idea of what I was talking about.
    A while back I heard of binaural music, primarily of iDoser(which does nothing for me) which was supposed to be music/sound frequencies that makes you feel a certain way. From thought I heard thew term ASMR- and finally, FINALLY I had found something that described what I felt and could do.

    In all my info hunting on trying to find an explaination what was happening to me, the frustration of never really being able to find anything out, and the discoveries I've made through "practicing" my "ability"(lol), I'd have to agree with Karissa Ann Burgess, who is in charge of experimental research and data for, says that "she thinks that ASMR is caused by “secretions from the pineal gland” in the brain"". I've heard lots of things of the pineal gland in various areas. In some religious theories the "pine cone" is a big deal. In Christianity, the Vatacan has a LARGE pine cone in it's garden. In terms of some-SOME conspiracy theories, it's a factor in man's evolution. Even in terms of drugs, it's thought what could be happening when you die, the "I saw my life flash before my eyes", is DMT being secreted from your pineal gland. I've even smoked DMT for that reasaon alone, although I didn't have the so-called "death-trip"

    Scientifically I still don't know what is happening, but I am still happy now that I am finding that not only am I alone with this, but more and more people are starting to say that it happens to them too. Even now, like I have for some time now, want to be hooked up to a MRI/Catscan/etc and have it look to see if I change anything when I make my ASMR happen.

    1. Hi there,
      I also have ASMR since the age of 6 and recently tried DMT. I thought that both could be linked and that's how I found your comment here. Take care of your pineal gland!

  7. technically ASMR is only physical. it's been described in three categories, Auditory, Visual, and Physical. the reason why this is both right and wrong is because with auditory it's the specific pitch or wave length that is causing the reaction, and all that is is a wave smashing against your eardrum making physical contact. the vibrations we feel from that gives off the reaction but keep in mind everyone's triggers are different. Visual causes what is called a phantom feeling. basically your projecting what your seeing onto yourself. that is why massage videos are a major trigger for a lot of people. even though it's not making any physical contact these phantom feelings are still triggering the response of being physically touched because although your not being touched your brain thinks it is and that's what's causing the trigger. then of course the actual physical contact like getting a haircut or a massage. for me specifically it's only one type of massage that can trigger mine and that's a press and release style. if there is oil involved with gliding skin to skin contact it doesn't do it for me where that might be different in another persons case. so basically what i'm getting at is ASMR is being triggered by the recepters that have to do with the part of the brain that deals with physical touch or what's called the Somatosensory system. the feelings you get from taste and smell are similar but often confused with ASMR. the euphoric feeling you get from smell is a memory trigger and usually lasts only as long as you can smell it. taste is a sense connected directly to smell. if you plug your nose when you eat it is much harder to taste whatever your eating. these senses set off a euphoria in the brain but it's more connected to nostalgia than it is ASMR.


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