Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rustle, Tingle, Relax: The Compelling World of A.S.M.R.

Now I understand. More than one person has commented on my voice in some of my pen videos on YouTube. They've ranged from 'You sound like Clint Eastwood' (really? :-)), to 'His voice puts me to sleep' (I always took that as a negative, but maybe not!), to 'Your voice is perfect for A.S.M.R.'.

I looked up the definition of A.S.M.R. at the time, but it was only after reading this article in the NY Times just now that I learned how big this phenomenon is, and how many YouTube videos there are which address this.

"By STEPHANIE FAIRYINGTON

A few months ago, I was on a Manhattan-bound D train heading to work when a man with a chunky, noisy newspaper got on and sat next to me. As I watched him softly turn the pages of his paper, a chill spread like carbonated bubbles through the back of my head, instantly relaxing me and bringing me to the verge of sweet slumber.

It wasn’t the first time I’d felt this sensation at the sound of rustling paper — I’ve experienced it as far back as I can remember. But it suddenly occurred to me that, as a lifelong insomniac, I might be able to put it to use by reproducing the experience digitally whenever sleep refused to come.

Under the sheets of my bed that night, I plugged in some earphones, opened the YouTube app on my phone and searched for “Sound of pages.” What I discovered stunned me.

There were nearly 2.6 million videos depicting a phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response, or A.S.M.R., designed to evoke a tingling sensation that travels over the scalp or other parts of the body in response to auditory, olfactory or visual forms of stimulation.

The sound of rustling pages, it turns out, is just one of many A.S.M.R. triggers. The most popular stimuli include whispering; tapping or scratching; performing repetitive, mundane tasks like folding towels or sorting baseball cards; and role-playing, where the videographer, usually a breathy woman, softly talks into the camera and pretends to give a haircut, for example, or an eye examination. The videos span 30 minutes on average, but some last more than an hour."



Click on the link to read the complete article and to follow links to some example videos. Pretty fascinating!

Link to NY Times article

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