Are You a TingleHead? The wonderful world of ASMR


The world is divided into two types of people:

those that experience ASMR, and those that don’t!


Maybe it was the voice of your first grade teacher that initially triggered a similar sensation in you? Perhaps you go to get a haircut more often than others because you feel the tingly sensation spreading all over your body, when the attentive stylist gently washes your hair.



Figure 1 ASMR Triggers (Via Jesus Gonzalez Fonseca Blog)

Via Jesus Gonzalez Fonseca Blog


But all this is old news, isn’t it? Because one night, anxious and unable to sleep, you hopped on YouTube and landed on a whisper video…. And just like that you’ve discovered that others also respond in a similar way to head massages and certain voices because just like you they have ASMR.

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s not a scientific name because at this time there are no studies conducted on the effects of ASMT triggers on the brain. And it makes it harder to quantify because not everyone responds to ASMR. According to Novella (2012):

“What we need at this point,” writes Steven Novella, Director of General Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine, on his Neuroscience blog, “are functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies that look at what is happening in the brains of people while experiencing ASMR versus typical controls. Are their brains really different, and in what way? I also wonder if the same or similar experience can be artificially induced in typical (non-ASMR) people.“

Jeff Thomson (2013), the creator of a popular ASMR website, The ASMR Lab, mentions seven common triggers ASMRtists use in their films:

(1) Whispering;

(2) Scratching and tapping;

(3) Blowing;

(4) Turning pages;

(5) Personal attention;

(6) Touching head (for instance, head massage or hair brushing);


PBS Remix-Happy Painter

(7) Bob Ross! — a painter, and a star of The Joy of Painting, an American PBS program, who apparently has induced virginal ASMR responses in tingleheads across the world. Bob’s tantalizing paint-smearing technique, and his calming and positive narration that is often centers on trivialities (such as squirrels or cherry tomatoes), keeps Ross’ videos popular among tingle-hunters even after his death.


Image via

And here’s an example of one of the coolest, in my opinion, ASMR videos out there:


Via ASMR Requests YouTube channel


(This blog post is modified version of a White Paper written previously by the author)




Novella, S. (2012, March 12). NeuroLogica Blog » ASMR. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from

Thomson, J. (n.d.). ASMR Triggers – Common ASMR triggers that cause tingles | The ASMR Lab. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from




2 thoughts on “Are You a TingleHead? The wonderful world of ASMR

  1. The whole idea of ASMR is interesting. There are stimuli in the world that make people do things more often than others in a great thing to study. I thought that this has been studied before yet it must have been in a different facet, more behavioral than solely chemically from the reactions in the brain. It’ll be interesting to see neurotransmitter response and what location in the brain this would cause relations too.


  2. I must admit, that was a pretty cool video. I was listening these ( to try to meditate at one point when a friend introduced me to ASMR. The girl’s voice sounded eerily relaxing just like the girl in this video. When she flashed the light pen at the screen I felt a strange sensation on my lower forehead. Anyway, so I woke up this morning with 3 extra eyes, thanks Nadia–jk. Really though, cool stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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