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      Autonomous Meridian Sensory Response – From Internet Subculture to Audiovisual Therapy


      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2017) (EVA)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

      11 – 13 July 2017

      ASMR, Autonomous, Sensory, Meridian, Response, Whispering, Community, YouTube, Tingling, Tigles, Sensation, ASMRtist, ASMRer, Creator, Chills, Frisson, Healing, Therapy, Musique, Concrète, Electroacoustic, Anecdotal, Composition

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          ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is the name given to a pleasant sensation that can be felt most commonly on the scalp and can be triggered by various gentle sounds (like whispers, crinkles or tapping), smooth and repetitive visual stimuli, personal attention (like the touch of a hairdresser or a masseur) or other events. ASMR is often associated with a general feeling of relaxation and peace. Whilst academic research on the sociological, artistic, sensory and cognitive dimensions is still in its infancy ASMR has grown into a worldwide, cross-disciplinary, inter-cultural, multi-lingual social media sensation. This paper outlines the rise of ASMR as Internet subculture from its inception as ‘whispering community’ on Internet platforms and blogs, to become a truly popular (i.e., made by the people) platform for creative expression, self-made holistic therapy and, in some instances, true artistic audiovisual endeavours.

          This paper comments on the reasons behind the rise of the ASMR community as a fertile ground for creative expression. Audiences’ expectations are dictated by the attention-induced nature of the sensory experience, a factor that spawned an exceptionally perceptive viewership if one considers the inherently fragmented essence of ubiquitous streaming media and the impatient scanning and skipping modes of reception it encourages. ‘ASMRtists’ thus enjoy a privileged relationship with audiences who are not impressed with the relentless pour of energy and information from social media platforms and treasure, instead, the slow, the quiet, and the subtle.

          Examples from various ASMR content creators will be analysed from the compositional standpoint, highlighting technical and idiomatic similarities with forms of improvisatory practices and experimental artistic languages such as Musique Concrète. The paper will also illustrate recent audiovisual projects related to ASMR carried out at Keele University and will introduce the audience to planned developments towards ASMR related content delivered through mobile platforms.

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          Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): a flow-like mental state

          Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a previously unstudied sensory phenomenon, in which individuals experience a tingling, static-like sensation across the scalp, back of the neck and at times further areas in response to specific triggering audio and visual stimuli. This sensation is widely reported to be accompanied by feelings of relaxation and well-being. The current study identifies several common triggers used to achieve ASMR, including whispering, personal attention, crisp sounds and slow movements. Data obtained also illustrates temporary improvements in symptoms of depression and chronic pain in those who engage in ASMR. A high prevalence of synaesthesia (5.9%) within the sample suggests a possible link between ASMR and synaesthesia, similar to that of misophonia. Links between number of effective triggers and heightened flow state suggest that flow may be necessary to achieve sensations associated with ASMR.
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            An Examination of Personality Traits Associated with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)

            Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a perceptual condition in which the presentation of particular audio-visual stimuli triggers intense, pleasurable tingling sensations in the head and neck regions, which may spread to the periphery of the body. These triggering stimuli are often socially intimate in nature, and usually involve repetition of movements and/or sounds (e.g., hearing whispering, watching someone brush her hair). Reports of ASMR experiences first appeared in online communities in 2010; since this time, these communities have expanded, with some groups consisting of over 100,000 members. However, despite the apparent prevalence of ASMR, there is currently no research on the personality characteristics that co-occur with this condition. In the current study, 290 individuals with ASMR and 290 matched controls completed the Big Five Personality Inventory (BFI; John et al., 1991); participants with ASMR also completed a questionnaire related to their ASMR phenomenology. Individuals with ASMR demonstrated significantly higher scores on Openness-to-Experience and Neuroticism, and significantly lower levels of Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness compared to matched controls. Further, ratings of subjective ASMR intensity in response to 14 common ASMR stimuli were positively correlated with the Openness-to-Experience and Neuroticism dimensions of the BFI. These results provide preliminary evidence that ASMR is associated with specific personality traits and suggest avenues for further investigation.
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              ‘Turn it down!’ she shrieked: gender, domestic space, and high fidelity, 1948–59


                Author and article information

                July 2017
                July 2017
                : 395-402
                Keele University

                Music and Music Technology

                The Clockhouse, Keele University

                Staffordshire ST5 5BG, UK
                © Garro. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2017, UK

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2017)
                London, UK
                11 – 13 July 2017
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
                Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
                Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
                Electronic Workshops in Computing


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