Being relaxed and in touch with your inner self is becoming increasingly difficult in a world filled with stress and tension. Perhaps, that is the reason why ASMR videos have gotten so popular over the course of the last decade. The term was first used by Jennifer Allen to describe a tingling sensation some people experience when they hear whispering or low sounds. For some role-playing videos in which all attention of the host is directed to the viewer can trigger the ASMR, while others enjoy watching videos that contain common every day sounds like paper rustling or tapping.
Even though the term ASMR may sound overly technical, this phenomenon hasn’t really been researched properly. We still don’t know why certain people react to this type of stimuli by becoming more relaxed, while others don’t experience anything while watching or listening to the audio-visual ASMR triggers. In February 2017, Stephen Smith and Beverly Fredborg published a study titled ‘An Examination of Personality Traits Associated with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’. The focal point of the paper was the attempt to establish a direct correlation between the ASMR and specific personality traits.
Two test groups consisted of 290 people with ASMR and 290 people who have never experienced this sensation before. The results of the study have shown that ASMR experiencers scored higher than non-ASMR experiencers for both Openness-to-Experience and Neuroticism. The high score for Openness-to-Experience reveals intellectual curiosity, creativity, and inventiveness among other personality traits, while the high score for Neuroticism suggests vulnerability to stress and emotional reactiveness.
On the other hand, most people from the ASMR experiencers group achieved low scores in Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Extraversion categories. This means that people who are capable to experience ASMR are more flexible and spontaneous and that they don’t strive to be highly efficient or organized. Furthermore, low scores in the Extraversion category indicate that solitary, reflective and reserved people experience ASMR more often than those who are talkative and outgoing.
The paper also suggests that ASMR-experiencers are more likely to be competitive, argumentative, detached and analytic. In addition, ratings of the subjective ASMR intensity in response to 14 common ASMR triggers were successfully connected to the Openness-to-Experience and Neuroticism dimensions of the Big Five Personality Inventory. The results of the study conducted by Smith and Fredborg prove that the ASMR is directly related to specific personality traits, but further research is required in order to fully explore the implications of this study.
Being creative, having a broad range of interests or disliking doing things on a set schedule can all be indicators that you are likely to experience ASMR. However, the sample on which the study was conducted is simply too small to make any definitive conclusions, because having all of the above-mentioned personality traits doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll experience ASMR every time someone whispers something in your ear or each time you watch someone paint. The fourteen stimuli that are known to trigger ASMR are very different in their nature, as there is very little connection between a dentist simulation and watching someone cook. Do you think that personality traits can indicate that someone can experience ASMR? Leave a comment and share your opinion with us.