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YearEnder2018: What is ASMR and Why Did it Go Viral in 2018?

By: Raka Mukherjee


Last Updated: December 21, 2018, 11:32 IST

YearEnder2018: What is ASMR and Why Did it Go Viral in 2018?

Ever come across the term 'ASMR' on the Internet? Here's why it was 2018's top trend.

If you've been on Youtube clicking through videos, you must have come across this word listed on at least one video so far - 'ASMR.' Sounds familiar? It was all over Youtube and the 'Explore' section of Instagram this year. In fact, it was even Instagram's top niche community trend.

And in case you have been living under a rock, here's what ASMR means.

You know that tingling sensation you feel down your spine when you're sitting by the ocean listening to the sound of the waves crash on the shore? Or that feeling when you wake up one morning and open your window to the sound of bird-song? That tingly sensation which is a lot like a cold shiver but without the unpleasantness is ASMR.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response or ASMR is usually an experience which is characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It may overlap with 'frission' and signifies the subjective experience of "low-grade euphoria" characterized by "a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin". It is most commonly triggered by specific auditory or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control.

So in short, it's the tingle down your spine that comes out of anticipation.

Though ASMR started picking up traction from the end of 2017, it has peaked in 2018.

People have not only started looking for ASMR, but there is a whole genre of audio-porn which stimulates the ASMR sensation for you.

Not only does Youtube show you several million results, but there are actual channels dedicated to just it. These are a few usual ASMR videos you will come across.

Either music very similar to Lofi betas to help you study, relax or fall asleep.

Or roleplay ASMR.

But the Internet is a strange place. And with the ever expanding universe of weird, not even ASMR remained normal.

In fact, the most viewed ASMR video is a very bizzare, somewhat-creepy and strange.. well, we'll let you judge.

While it may make sense while people like ASMR - the answer is obvious. Who wouldn't like a light, pleasant tingly sensation that you don't have to do anything but click a button on a web page to activate not instantly be a fan favorite?

The reason to explain the bizarre videos are also easy - the same way different people react to different stimuli, different people find different sounds - eating, crunching, combing hair, all sources for kick-off their ASMR. The sheer volume of ASMR videos on YouTube is proof enough that thousands of people feel these tingles, and people who may not have realized it up until now, also feel it - either by placebo effect, or by actually triggering a response in their nervous system.

So the next time you come across a video of very ordinary things, making everyday sounds and involuntarily feel a tingle, you can now put a name on it: ASMR.