Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a response to specific audio-visual stimuli. There is a tingling sensation that starts from the scalp and moves down towards the spine. There is increased calmness and pleasure during this response. Certain changes of the brain occur in ASMR. These brain changes result in calmness and pleasure. A description of the effects of autonomous Sensory Meridian Response on the human brain is in the following section.
A study on the ten individuals who experienced ASMR was carried out in 2009. The participants were asked to watch the video in an fMRI machine. Some of the effects that were seen in this study are in the following section.
Increased Activation of Emotion, and Empathy Controlling Regions of Brain
The images from this study revealed that during the experience of the ASMR, the participants were having increased Activation of certain brain regions. These regions control emotions, empathy, and affiliate behavior. Although these results were based on limited research. But the later researches have supported this idea. The activation of these regions improves socio-emotional bonding. A sense of connectedness prevails in the person who experiences it.
Increased production of some neuroendocrine hormones
Several studies have shown an increase in the production of certain neuroendocrine hormones. These hormones include dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins.
Increased Dopamine Production
The increased level of dopamine makes you feel better. This increased production of dopamine can treat certain psychological problems such as anxiety.
Increased Oxytocin Production
Oxytocin is also called the love hormone. Increased production of this hormone gives you a sense of being loved. When you have a feeling of being loved, you also emit love. You develop a more empathic connection with people around you.
There is also increased production of endorphins in the brain during ASMR.
Decreased Sympathetic Outflow
The tingling from the skin slows down some of the other irritative sensory stimuli. As a result, there is a decreased Sympathetic Outflow from the brain. A decreased sympathetic outflow leads to lower stress. A classical manifestation of the decreased sympathetic outflow is decreased heart rate in people who experience ASMR.
The Takeaway Message
ASMR has certain effects on your brain. These effects result in certain behavioral changes. The researchers have shown increased activation of emotion-related regions of the brain during ASMR. There is also increased production of certain hormones during ASMR. There is also less sympathetic outflow during the experience of ASMR.
1: Poerio, G. L., Blakey, E., Hostler, T. J., & Veltri, T. (2018). More than a feeling: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is characterized by reliable changes in effect and physiology. PloS one, 13(6), e0196645. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196645
2: Lochte, B. C., Guillory, S. A., Richard, C., & Kelley, W. M. (2018). An fMRI investigation of the neural correlates underlying the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). BioImpacts: BI, 8(4), 295–304. https://doi.org/10.15171/bi.2018.32
3: Cash, D. K., Heisick, L. L., & Papesh, M. H. (2018). Expectancy effects in the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. PeerJ, 6, e5229. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5229
4: Lee, M., Song, C. B., Shin, G. H., & Lee, S. W. (2019). Possible Effect of Binaural Beat Combined With Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response for Inducing Sleep. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 13, 425. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2019.00425