Headline June 16, 2019/ '' 'BRAIN TINGLING BREAK' ''


JENNIFER ALLEN SAW how the feeling had improved her sense of calm, but she worried the  subtext of a ''tingling sensation'' would hold the group back from legitimacy.

If they wanted to generate scientific interest, they needed a more scientific-sounding name. And so in February 2010, she made one up : Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR.

She started with ''autonomous'' because it was a feeling from within; ''sensory'' was self explanatory. ''Meridian'' worked triple duty, suggesting peak and the energy pathways of traditional Chinese medicine. ''Response'' was just to say that it was not a constant state; it happened in reaction to a set of stimuli, like gum chewing and tapping.

''I wish I had made it a little shorter,'' Allen says. But at least it sounded better than ''brain-gasm''.

She introduced the new name on the SteadyHealth board by announcing the ''ASMR Group'' she had registered on on Facebook.

Discussion-board users migrated en masse, and soon membership spanned six continents : a blogger in South Africa, an artist in Detroit, an ethnobotany researcher working in Australia.

They started sharing links to videos again - not the accidental triggers of before but a new genre created for the express purpose of inducing ASMR. These videos often featured anonymous women delivery soft-spoken voice over narration.

According to message board lore, the first video of this type was one ''Whisper 1 - hello!'' that was posted in 2009. Under the search-engine friendly banner of ASMR, a new crop of YouTube creators emerged to serve up the feeling to those who knew they felt it - at that point, a small but growing subset of the public.

Today legions of [mostly female] creators release, by my count around 500 new videos on YouTube each day. Over the course of reporting this article, I spent at least 200 hours  on the site, watching women chew gum, swallow octopus sashimi, simulate eye exams, turn pages of books and peel dried glue of artificial ears.

I watch a teenage girl role-play as a 14th century nun, treating me for the bubonic plague, I watch a two hour recording of hair dryer sounds.

Any trigger that starts to find fans is endlessly taken up and reperformed - ripped off by different channels for ad dollars - at least until the next trigger takes its spot.

One month, cranial nerve exams are in. The next month, creators are all shaving bars of soap, chewing bricks of raw honeycomb or eating buckets of KFC. The subculture is bonded not by belief but rather by an ineffable sensation - perhaps the first time the Internet has revealed the existence of a new feeling.

Craig Richard, a professor of physiology at Shenandoah University in Virginia, first heard the term  ''ASMR'' in 2013, on a podcast. ''I'm listening to the beginning of this episode thinking, ''This is a bunch of woo-woo bunk!'' he told me.

Just as he went to turn the podcast off, the subject turned to the painter Bob Ross, - by then a well-known ASMR trigger. Richard's eyes lit up In childhood, he spent afternoons watching Ross paint landscapes on TV. He remembered caring more about the painter than the painting.

''It was his demeanor. It was the sounds he made and the way he talked - the way he looked in the camera.

When the episode was over, Richard went  to his computer to look up the research on ASMR. At that point, he found nothing academic - only websites and forums that led him to the Facebook group.

He reached out to Allen, and in collaboration with a graduate student and member of the community named  Karissa Burnett, they conducted an informal online survey that, over time, has received more than 25,000 voluntary responses.

Richard also started ASMR University,  an online archive that today remains a useful clearinghouse of research on the topic.

Still scientific understanding moved slowly. Funding for ASMR research is hard to justify, and the diverse nature of ASMR triggers can lead to ''noisy'' data.

To date, ASMR University lists just 10-peer reviewed papers. More than half of these were published in author-pay journals. The most rigorous studies use  [MRI]  to map the activity of blood flow in the brain as participants report feeling the tingles.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Whispering Networks, Students and Research, continues.

With respectful dedication to the Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on Facebook, prepare and  ''register'' on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter- !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Silvery Sparkle '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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