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
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
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.