Friday, August 18, 2017

Open Thread: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response ASMR


wikipedia |  Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a colloquial term used for an experience 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 has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia.[1][2] ASMR signifies the subjective experience of "low-grade euphoria" characterised by "a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin". It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic, visual and digital media stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attentional control.[3][4]

The term "autonomous sensory meridian response" was coined on 25 February 2010 by Jennifer Allen, a cybersecurity professional residing in New York[5] in the introduction to a Facebook Group she founded entitled the ASMR Group.[6]

Prior to the subsequent social consensus that led to what is now the ubiquitous adoption of that term, other names were proposed and discussed at a number of locations including the Steady Health forum, the Society of Sensationalists Yahoo! Group and the Unnamed Feeling Blog.

Proposed formal names included "Attention Induced Head Orgasm", "Attention Induced Euphoria" and "Attention Induced Observant Euphoria", whilst colloquial terms in usage included "brain massage", "head tingle", "brain tingle", "spine tingle" and "brain orgasm".[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Whilst many colloquial and formal terms used and proposed between 2007 and 2010 included reference to orgasm, there was during that time a significant majority objection to its use among those active in online discussions, many of whom have continued to persist in differentiating the euphoric and relaxing nature of ASMR from sexual arousal.[13] However, by 2015, a division had occurred within the ASMR community over the subject of sexual arousal, with some creating videos categorized as ASMRotica (ASMR erotica), which are deliberately designed to be sexually stimulating.[14][15]

The initial consensus among the ASMR Community was that the name should not pose a high risk of the phenomenon being perceived as sexual. Given that consensus, Allen proposed "autonomous sensory meridian response". Allen chose the words intending or assuming them to have the following specific meanings:[16]
  • Autonomous – spontaneous, self-governing, within or without control
  • Sensory – pertaining to the senses or sensation
  • Meridian – signifying a peak, climax, or point of highest development
  • Response – referring to an experience triggered by something external or internal
Allen verified in a 2016 interview that she purposely selected these terms because they were more objective, comfortable, and clinical than alternative terms for the sensation.[17] Allen explained she selected the word meridian to replace the word orgasm due to its meaning of point or period of greatest prosperity.

The term "autonomous sensory meridian response" and its initialism ASMR were adopted by both the community of contributors to online discussions and those reporting and commentating on the phenomenon.