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Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a term used to describe a sensory experience characterized by a pleasant tingling sensation in the head and scalp, which can be triggered by sounds like whispering or brushing, and visual stimulus like painting or drawing. On YouTube, the phenomenon inspired the creation of “whisperer” videos, in which people attempt to trigger the viewer’s ASMR by speaking in a soft voice and making various sounds with inanimate objects.
One of the first online forum discussions about the phenomenon was started on the Steady Health Forums by member okaywhatever on October 19th, 2007. In the thread titled “Weird Sensation Feels Good”, the original poster (OP) described a strange itchy sensation triggered by several different social interactions. On June 4th, 2008, SteadyHealth member tingler replied to the thread, who referred to the phenomenon as “Attention Induced Head Orgasm” (AIHO) and claimed to have experienced it for as long as he could remember.
That same year, the now-defunct web forum AIHO.org was launched for people to discuss the strange sensations. On December 12th, 2008, the Yahoo group “Society of Sensationalists” was launched with a similar purpose, gaining over 3,200 members in less than three years. In February of 2010, Jennifer Allen coined the term “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response” when she started a Facebook group dedicated to the sensation.
On April 24th, 2010, the first ASMR-related event was held called “Hug Your Brain Day”, which encouraged people to engage in activities that triggered ASMR.
On June 16th, 2010, the ASMR Research & Support website was launched by Jennifer Allen with an aim to support scientific study of the phenomenon. On June 23rd, YouTube channel The Unnamed Feeling was launched, which created playlists highlighting various ASMR triggering videos. On February 17th, 2011, Redditor mahi-mahi linked the ASMR Research & Support website in a post titled “TIL about ASMR, aka ‘that unnamed feeling’ or ‘head orgasms’” to the /r/todayilearned subreddit. The following day, Redditor MrStonedOn created the /r/ASMR subreddit as a place to share ASMR-triggering web videos. On February 27th, 2012, The Huffington Post published an article titled “ASMR: Orgasms for Your Brain”, reporting on the wide variety of online communities surrounding ASMR. On March 12th, the neuroscience blog Neurologica published a post on ASMR, which noted that the Internet was instrumental in the discovery of the phenomenon.
On March 26th, 2009, YouTuber WhisperingLife uploaded a video titled “Whisper 1 – hello!”, which featured a woman whispering that she created the channel because she loved to hear people whisper (shown below). On October 8th, 2010, the web forum YouWhisper was launched, where members shared their favorite YouTube whispering videos.
On December 8th, ASMR Research & Support Forums member HFM submitted a thread titled “YouTube and the Whisper Community”, listing YouTuber Soothingwhisper as a notable producer of ASMR-triggering videos. On December 23rd, The Unnamed Feeling published a post noting that many YouTubers were using whispering as a common trigger in ASMR videos. On July 31st, Vice published an article reporting on whispering videos and other ASMR Internet communities. On March 29th, 2013, the NPRsyndicated program This American Life broadcast a story by novelist Andrea Seigel and her experiences with ASMR and the whispering community (shown below).
On July 18th, 2011, The Unnamed Feeling reported that a Wikipedia article has been created for the phenomenon. In September 2011, the page was marked for deletion by several community members on the grounds that the concept lacked scientific evidence and reliable sources. On September 19th, The Unnamed Feeling published a post titled “Help Save the ASMR Wikipedia Page!”, calling for readers to assist in improving the entry in order to save it from deletion. On September 26th, The Unnamed Feeling posted an update that the Wikipedia page had been removed for a lack of scientific evidence. As of early April 2013, the Wikipedia page has since been restored.
International ASMR Day
In March of 2012, members of the “I Am ASMR” Facebook group designated April 9th as the “International ASMR Day." On March 9th, a Facebook page titled “International ASMR Day” was created, which gained over 3,200 likes in the following 13 months. On April 8th, 2013, YouTuber TheWaterwhispers uploaded a collaboration video with YouTuber GentleWhispering in honor of the 2013 International ASMR Day (shown below). Within 24 hours, the video received over 8,400 views and 175 comments.
Anti-Valentine – ASMR – What is This Tingling Sensation in my Head?