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Bioimpacts. 2018;8(4): 295-304.
doi: 10.15171/bi.2018.32
PMID: 30397584
PMCID: PMC6209833
Scopus ID: 85056080325
WOSID: 000452805700007
  Abstract View: 7387
  PDF Download: 2058
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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: 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.  

Keywords: Autonomous sensory meridian response, ASMR, fMRI, Frisson, Whole brain imaging, ROI analysis
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Submitted: 30 Apr 2018
Revision: 04 Jun 2018
Accepted: 08 Jun 2018
ePublished: 23 Sep 2018
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