Bioimpacts. 2018;8(4):295-304.
doi: 10.15171/bi.2018.32
  Abstract View: 1690
  PDF Download: 399

Original Research

An fMRI investigation of the neural correlates underlying the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)

Bryson C. Lochte 1, Sean A Guillory 1, Craig A. H. Richard 2 * , William M. Kelley 1

1 Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
2 Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA, USA
*Corresponding author: Craig Richard, Email: Email: crichard@su.edu

Abstract

Introduction: The "autonomous sensory meridian response" (ASMR) is a neologism used to describe an internal sensation of deep relaxation and pleasant head tingling which is often stimulated by gentle sounds, light touch, and personal attention.

Methods: An fMRI-based methodology was employed to examine the brain activation of subjects prescreened for ASMR-receptivity (n=10) as they watched ASMR videos and identified specific moments of relaxation and tingling.

Results: Subjects who experienced ASMR showed significant activation in regions associated with both reward (NAcc) and emotional arousal (dACC and Insula/IFG). Brain activation during ASMR showed similarities to patterns previously observed in musical frisson as well as affiliative behaviors.

Conclusion: This is the first study to measure the activation of various brain regions during ASMR and these results may help to reveal the mechanistic underpinnings of this sensation.

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Submitted: 30 Apr 2018
Revised: 04 Jun 2018
Accepted: 08 Jun 2018
First published online: 23 Sep 2018
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