Jenny Nicholson's "Top 10 Reasons I Won't Do ASMR" ASMR

Ooohhh, okay, she’s just obscured for the most part

Lol she’s so witty

ASMR puts you to sleep. If that sounds sexual to you, you have a really bad sex life.

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do you get the tinglies?

I don’t really get “tingles.” Mostly it just makes me bliss-out.

I’m more interested in frisson, myself. That’s what I look for in music. If AMSR is completely different, please tell me-- as it would save me a lot of time.


That’s a really hard one to answer because I don’t think I’ve ever experienced frisson, and my experience of ASMR is as more of a blissful hypnosis than the tingly sensation that people tend to describe—though I do feel something akin to warmth on the back of my neck and head. There are enough similarities that it seems possible to me that they’re related in some way.

The Conversation has a piece suggesting that frisson has to do with how the body responds to unexpected stimuli. That’s interesting because expectation figures heavily into ASMR. Videos wear off if you rewatch them too many times; the better videos are less repetitious.

I tend to think that ASMR is a form of synesthesia. This is supported by the visual component—that people get better ASMR by watching someone get a message, have their hair played with, or when the ASMRtist interacts directly with the camera. Probably this has some connection to primate grooming behavior (which is what Nicholson is misunderstanding when she compares it to BDSM).

The discussion of expectation in The Conversation article also brought to mind a piece by Jonah Lehrer at Wired where he argues that aesthetic beauty is a form of curiosity/pattern recognition—that we find things beautiful that are recognizable to us as patterns, while containing enough unpredictability to pique our interest in what we don’t quite grasp.

Possibly both ASMR and frisson are synesthetic reward systems that we evolved to condition our response to the unexpected. ASMR = “Calm down, it’s just your mom picking ticks off your back.” Frisson = “Pay attention when new interpretations of your environment present themselves.”

Apologies if I’m rambling. Short answer: “I don’t know, maybe.”


Watched long enough to realize I’d misread the title. Not Jack Nicholson.

Thanks for interesting links. I experience a kind of frission that doesn’t manifest as tingles or chills, I CRY. It is like instant tears that only last for a few seconds. Freakin’ embarrassing for a 50sih dude. Biggest “trigger” is live recorded music, but lots of stuff does it; mostly aural. I heard somewhere that brains are weird. Seconded.


I’m a sucker for tear jerking music in film, but only a subset of those produce those dlicious goosbumps.

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