The other day I read about something called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) which is a You Tube phenomenon with over 9.6 million videos.
people claim it gives them “braingasms” and tingling sensations
in their heads and necks. Five percent
of those studied in a Swansea University study claimed they get sexually
stimulated watching them. Most of the videos on You Tube feature
people doing rather mundane things, but quite a few feature
things like shaves and haircuts for men and applying makeup and doing hair for
women. Head massages seem popular, too.
ASMR is a term used for
an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on
the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back
of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with
auditory-tactile synesthesia. ASMR signifies the subjective
experience of "low-grade euphoria" characterised by "a
combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling
sensation on the skin". It is most commonly triggered by
specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli.
that can trigger ASMR include the following:
to a softly spoken or whispering voice
to quiet, repetitive sounds
somebody attentively execute a mundane task
Chewing, Crunching, Slurping or Biting Foods, Drinks, or gum.
altruistic tender personal attention
Watching and listening to an audiovisual recording of a person
performing or simulating the above actions and producing their
consequent and accompanying sounds is sufficient to trigger ASMR for
the majority of those who report susceptibility to the experience.
Apparently not everyone,
myself included, is susceptible.
Psychologists discovered that whispering was an effective trigger for
75 percent of the subjects who took part in an experiment. That
explains why most of the You Tube videos I watch had people
whispering to the point that headphones were required to hear what
they were saying.
Many of those who experience ASMR report that some specific non-vocal
ambient noises are also effective triggers including those produced
by fingers scratching or tapping a surface, the crushing of
eggshells, the crinkling and crumpling of a flexible material such as
paper, or writing. Many YouTube videos that are intended to trigger
ASMR responses capture a single person performing these actions and
Role playing is also an important part of many You Tube videos: hair
cutting, applying makeup, head massages, nails painted, ears cleaned,
or back massaged, all accompanied by quiet or ehispered speech. You
Tube AMSR “artists” speak into the camera as if they were giving
the viewer personal attention. This personal attention worked for 69
percent of those taking part in the study.
Not surprisingly, for some viewers ASMR helps with inducing sleep for
those susceptible to insomnia, and relieving symptoms such as those
associated with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Some ASMR videos use binaural recording techniques to simulate the
acoustics of a three dimensional environment. Binaural recording is
a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged to
create a 3-D stereo sound sensation of actually being in the room.
Some of the microphones come in the shape of a human ear with about
the distance of a human head to achieve the desired effect and can
cost upwards of $500.
These recordings are made to be heard through headphones rather than
speakers. When listening to sound through speakers, the left and
right ear both hear the sound coming from the speaker. But when
listening to sound through headphones, the sound from the left
earpiece is audible only to the left ear, and the sound from the
right ear piece is audible only to the right ear. When producing
binaural media, the sound source is recorded by two separate
microphones, placed at a distance comparable to that between two
ears, and they are not mixed, but remain separate on the final
medium. The result is a more realistic sound. The listener perceives
being in close proximity to the performers and location of the sound
source. Secondly, the listener perceives what is often reported as a
three dimensional sound.
Not everybody experiences ASMR. Researchers say that if you're not
blown away by listening or if you only feel some vague sensation,
then it's probably deep relaxation but not necessarily ASMR. Not
everybody has the sensory wiring to have ASMR experiences.
Creating an ASMR video isn't as simple as just filming. Complex
videos take about three days to create as scripts with specific
soothing words have to be written and the sounds to be incorprated
have to be researched. Then testing has to be done on such things as
microphone positioning and lighting levels. Then there's post
production editing that needs to be done. This is important because
one of the first ASMR videos I checked out on You Tube was done by a
young girl with, obviously, no experience. It was funny because the
lighting was such that you could see shadow of the camera and
microphone on the wall behind her.
But, why so many ASMR videos on You Tube? Because it is possible to make money on them. Good ASMRtists, as they are called, can see subscriptions
numbering in the hundreds of thousands, and views in the millions and
many collect ad revenue,and accept donations through PayPal. One
lady on You Tube has an estimated net worth of $420,000. Her
channel’s content is basically just her whispering different things
into a mic, but it has over 350 million views and gets an average of
350,000 views per day. This gives an estimated revenue of around
$630 per day ($230,000 a year) from the ads that run on the videos.
Of course, most You Tube ASMR videos don't make that kind of money,
but they can get paid between $2 – $5 per 1000 views after YouTube
takes its cut. That could add up to some extra spending money.