A neuroscientist explains the "brain orgasm" response of ASMR videos

The video was not very helpful in giving a scientific overview. ASMR research scope is limited, but there are a few competing hypotheses:

  1. evolutionary (bonding response/oxytocin enabler)
  2. mild seizure response (this I find fascinating)
  3. type of synaesthesia (sensory/tactile/emotive pathway)
  4. a psychosocial phenomenon like misophonia

The real problem with scientifically exploring what ASMR is, is that it has been given a name by a bunch of enthusiasts, and turned into a media freak show by Youtubers.

ASMR is not a ‘thing’ it’s a massively diverse spectrum of responses, from a mildy pleasant sense of relaxation, to observable neurological activity…

…and these responses occur in a phenomenally diverse set of circumstances, from watching someone put a Lego set together, to having your hair brushed.

So, in a sense, the fact that ASMR has a name is a deterrent to further investigation. Because, people are using the term to describe hundreds or possibly thousands of different responses.


For me, it comes across as though ASMR is attempting to recreate the feeling that I personally get when someone brushes my hair. I can see why the dental videos or things that might seem like awkward caretaking would fit the whole maternal thing. Because mothers also groom you. It’s still part of her caretaking so there is likely some neurological connection to that kind of interaction.

1 Like

You’re not doing either right

1 Like

I started watching the video that Mark had posted, and I was surprised to find that it starts with an excrutiating montage of disgusting noises. Then, when on top of that the reporter started whispering, I felt the urgent need to scream, or punch somebody. Punch anybody. Hard.

So… yeah. I never could abide people who whisper. I always thought the behavior in itself was asinine. Speak up or shut up, was my motto. Guess I should get myself tested for misophonia.

1 Like

I’ve seen them before in the shoe department at Nordstrom. I wear a 10.5 D “true to size” and have since forever. There’s not too much need for most people as an adult to use one unless your feet have changed for some reason over time - weight gain or loss, I would assume to be the biggest reason.
Some shoes use different lasts, but that would be accounted for by a knowledgable sales person if a shoe runs small or large.
And come to think of it, there aren’t too many actual standalone shoe stores anymore… I think there’s a Birkenstock one not too far from me, though.

My feet have gotten bigger over time, but I’m 62, so it’s taken a few decades. I blame gravity. Or at least, I’m needing a larger shoe size, so I assume my feet are bigger, but sizing could have changed.


1 Like

This thing will do it to me in a very unpleasant way. I once had one of those mall kiosk people nonconsensually head-tingler me and I couldn’t stop myself from physically recoiling from it. I was (reasonably, I think) super annoyed.

I don’t want to be that guy, but … https://www.ticklingistorture.org
The tl;dr is that the slow loris is a nocturnal wild animal that hates being kept as a pet, hates being out in the daylight and hates being touched by strangers.
According to zoologists, when it raises it’s arms above the head like that, it’s a sign that it is panicking and going into withdrawal

1 Like

That’s actually really helpful information, thanks.

We assume we know that the loris is relaxed and enjoying the grooming because that’s how we would show ourselves to be relaxed and feeling pleasure. It’s anthropomorphism, and it’s so wrong that it’s actually convincing us of the opposite of the truth.


You might enjoy this video. I laughed quite a bit:

1 Like

I hate that thing.

Pink Floyd’s bass rhythm seem similar to digeridoo’s.

Had a buddy who could play 2 at once.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.