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April 14, 2011 5:53 AM   Subscribe

Does this give you head tingles? It's ASMR. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. And no, it's not masterbatory. Need another fix?

as discussed previousy here
posted by GamesRmeLife (96 comments total) 143 users marked this as a favorite

 
And no, it's not masterbatory.

but it is disterbing.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:58 AM on April 14, 2011 [19 favorites]


woo
posted by unSane at 6:10 AM on April 14, 2011


These people need to speak up. I can't hear a damned thing they're saying.
posted by phunniemee at 6:28 AM on April 14, 2011


Yeah, there's nothing more relaxing than being naked while Bob Ross-talking stranger pulls on your ears.
posted by DU at 6:32 AM on April 14, 2011


If I say no does that make me the alien?
posted by Splunge at 6:35 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


omg what is happening to me?!!?!

haaa great, another "addiction," and apparently SFW no less (still not sure, i have only known about this for about 5 minutes now)

why am i so weird
posted by lulz at 6:45 AM on April 14, 2011


tl;dl? (too long; didn't listen?)
posted by edheil at 7:01 AM on April 14, 2011


So this is a thing with a diagnosable acronym? I thought it was just some kind of reaction to a soothing voice or sound. I'm not sure I'd consider it sexy per sé.. more like relaxing and comforting.

Although some of the relaxation and comfort from the eye test video is counteracted by my WTF-neurons firing off "why is she pretending to talk to someone!?" messages.
posted by Harry at 7:13 AM on April 14, 2011


Only a couple of those worked for me. But the ones that worked worked really well. Thanks!
posted by yeolcoatl at 7:14 AM on April 14, 2011


I can do this to myself, at will. Does that make me weird?
posted by zylocomotion at 7:18 AM on April 14, 2011


It's the work of the devil, I say, and all of you will burn as witches.
posted by hippybear at 7:22 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can do this to myself, at will. Does that make me weird?
posted by zylocomotion at 10:18 AM


Weird! I can too! I never knew what it was called. Should we start a support group?
posted by orme at 7:29 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reddit is not a reference.
posted by koeselitz at 7:31 AM on April 14, 2011


OMG, I thought I was the only one who experienced this. DEFINITELY time for a support group...
posted by twsf at 7:31 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good Lord. It's a thing?!

I was wondering about this just the other day. My trigger is when I see someone do something (unasked) to a possession of mine. Puts oil on my bicycle horn, polishes my toenails, collates my papers, or somesuch.

(why does everything sound dirty? why?)
posted by likeso at 7:48 AM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is there any researched benefit to it? I couldn't find any actual research on the 'research and support' link.

In a similar vein, have you ever heard of root locking (mula bandha)? It's a similarly tingly feeling, basically, but it comes from the genital area and spreads upward. Since it's tied to a physical act, I can trigger it at will also. I don't have to do anything, physically, to trigger ASMR.

I occasionally will do both at the same time. I have yet to develop mystical powers (that I'm aware of), see God, or explode.

Support group? Meh. Maybe a cabal.
posted by zylocomotion at 7:53 AM on April 14, 2011


So wait. Is this head tingling thing happening to everybody? Because I'm getting nothing, and I don't believe I have ever felt anything like this.

from the youtube comments on the "head" link:
omg i loved this...u do the exact thing that makes me get asmr..which is one people like rotate objects in their hands as if they're closely examining it...strange i know but omg my brain was orgasming like crazy

Look, I like rotating objects in my hands while closely examining them as much as the next guy. You could say I get intellectual pleasure from it. But this isn't a thing, is it? This is like brain Morgellons or something, right? I'm beginning to fear that I'm ... numb, or deaf, or in some other way deficient.
posted by penduluum at 7:55 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the same feeling I get when people on the internet talk about synesthesia. I'm going to start calling it Reverse ASMR By Proxy.
posted by penduluum at 7:57 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to get a great tingling at the back of my neck/base of my skull when watching the makeover scene in The Breakfast Club, where it's a closeup of her eyes getting mascara'd. We had it on VHS and I probably wore those few minutes' worth of tape out watching, rewinding, watching, rewinding, over and over. Haven't seen it in probably 20 years now (annoyingly I couldn't find that scene on YouTube) so I don't know if it still works, but I may need to go do some, ahem, research now.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 8:01 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gawdammit i thought it was a Seam-master. So disappointed now, my ASMR is tootally fragged now.
posted by rudster at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2011


You've just turned us all into Al Qaeda sleeper agents, haven't you?
posted by jph at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't get it. What is supposed to happen?
posted by dejah420 at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I left out some links to some asmr inducing movie scenes. In case you are interested here's a couple of good ones.
The Matrix and No Country For Old Men
posted by GamesRmeLife at 8:08 AM on April 14, 2011


I can do this to myself, at will. Does that make me weird?

No it just makes you Type A. Congrats ;)
posted by GamesRmeLife at 8:11 AM on April 14, 2011


penduluum: "This is like brain Morgellons or something, right? I'm beginning to fear that I'm ... numb, or deaf, or in some other way deficient."

Yeah, me too. That said though, I'm always pleased to be reminded of Bob Ross. Bob Ross makes me happy.
posted by dejah420 at 8:17 AM on April 14, 2011


So, it's not ASMR, but regularly throughout my life, when standing to piss, the bottoms of my feet will get hot. Not every single time, but frequently and regularly.

And no, it's not because I'm missing the toilet and pissing on my feet. That's been eliminated as a possibility, although it is a good and clever suggestion, thankyouverymuch.
posted by hippybear at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. What is supposed to happen?

I just invoked it (I can do this by remembering episodes) so that I can try to describe how it feels for me.

It starts as an external, tingling sensation at the top of my head, on my scalp. It spreads downwards and nestles on my chest - and seemingly internally, in my heart. It is accompanied by an almost-paralysis of my entire body - no, maybe more a kind of a holding pattern - as I watch what the other person is doing.

It is completely weird, and until this post I never knew other people also experienced it.
posted by likeso at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


At the 87:57 mark... (Warning: dodgy movie-streaming website).
posted by Hal Mumkin at 8:23 AM on April 14, 2011


I wonder if it's related to the nails-on-chalkboard, rubbing-styrofoam-together experience. I mean, I get that. Sound-induced chills I can relate to, like as a general proposition. And a lot of these seem to involve a couple specific sounds — soft speech, rustling paper, sand or stone being touched. But it seems to be induced in some people by just the sound and in others by watching something happen.
posted by penduluum at 8:26 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


penduluum, I think you're on to something... some kind of non-volitional response?

And I just realized that some sounds do set it off for me. Specifically, the sound of certain kinds of plastic protection covers. Now I know the reason for one of my guilty pleasures: watching Say Yes To The Dress. Solely for when they go back to the stock room and mess about with the dresses in covers. Woah, insight!
posted by likeso at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have gotten the exact feeling described, but only very occasionally. And only when actually being touched by someone, in certain specific ways - for instance during a medical exam, or when my mom would trim my nails when I was a young child, that sort of thing. "Close personal attention from another person", as the ASMR research site mentioned. But never in a sexual context, nor even when getting a massage. None of the videos above do it for me. I guess I'm just picky.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This post just blew my mind. I never knew it was a thing.
For me it's just the voices that do it. Doesn't work with things, like the unboxing Zippo video or shoe-shining or whatever. Although the pencil-scratches in the fake eye-exam were good.

I really can't believe I'm sitting here watching YouTube videos of creepy whispering dudes and girls pretending to be Optometrists.
posted by chococat at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "It's the work of the devil, I say, and all of you will burn as witches."

Oh yes! I will burn, no doubt. But not for this, oh no... not for this... I have sinned, deeply, strongly, fully. And I will burn...

But not for this.

Now go... quickly, before the sun sets.

posted by Splunge at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


OH! So THIS is what's happening when you get checked for lice as a child? When the school nurse takes the long tail of the comb and parts your hair, carefully inspecting your scalp. Or when you get checked for scoliosis?

I think I've lost this. It happened all the time when I was a kid, and it was blissful. I'm an introvert and don't like to be the center of attention in large groups, but triggers for me were 1. lightly physical touch and 2. close, personal attention from one other person.

The last time I remember it happening was when I was 15 or 16. A girl I didn't know very well suddenly grabbed my hand and announced that she loved my nails. I had painted them in some crazy pattern. she took one of my hands in both of her hands and sort of fondled my fingernails as she inspected them closely to see the design. She rubbed her fingertips over the nails and sort of looked at each one and petted them.

It was not sexual at all, but just mindblowingly pleasurable and man I would love it if I could still feel that way now. Massages and stuff are awesome, but nothing feels that awesome anymore. None of these videos really did it for me, but the face massage one came the closest.
posted by peep at 9:42 AM on April 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Thank you, GameRMeLife, for a great post! I've experienced these soothing "head tingles" since I was a kid as a reaction to certain speaking voices. I always wondered if this phenomenon had a name, and if anyone else experienced it, and I never asked anyone just in case I was the only one this happened to and I'd sound like I was really weird...
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2011


Oh wow, this is so awesome. I was just yesterday thinking about posting an AskMe inquiring why I get all trancey and tingly at things like this. It's most common when I get my hair cut, and in particular when the clippers are humming. The earliest I recall was in fifth grade when a classmate was quietly explaining math problems to me. I thought I was going to pass out. Thanks for the post!
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:47 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would also mention that those makeup application YouTube videos that are so popular do this to me in a big way.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:47 AM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't have the head tingle response to these videos, but I do find them very soothing and enjoyable. It brings back memories of watching instructional or educational videos as a child.

One video that came to mind is the Japanese shirt ironing video I remember seeing on Metafilter before.
posted by Ceniac at 9:54 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, just cut them up like regular chickens
posted by flabdablet at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is amazing. I really, really want to understand this, now. What is going on? We need a neuroscientist up in here...

Paging Dr. Neuroscientist! Dr. Neuroscientist, report to Post 102510, stat!
posted by likeso at 10:19 AM on April 14, 2011


Is there any researched benefit to it? I couldn't find any actual research on the 'research and support' link.

Unfortunately there hasn't been much research done. So if that Dr. Neuroscientist comes along I'd be very interested too. :)
posted by GamesRmeLife at 10:27 AM on April 14, 2011


So this is some kind of April Fools joke that everyone but Splunge, dejah420 and I are in on??
posted by MtDewd at 10:47 AM on April 14, 2011


MtDewd - no, I'm not in on the joke either. I have no idea what everyone is talking about.
I do like Bob Ross painting happy little trees, but I just think it's cute. Nothing else.

Y'all wacko.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:50 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm not feeling the same thing, but I always thought it was goosebumps that started on the scalp and radiated downward.

Not "feels like goosebumps" but literally goosebumps -- it's just that when they're on your scalp, they don't look like goosebumps because the hairs (if you have it) are too heavy.
posted by treepour at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


MtDewd: Not at all. I'm still not convinced it isn't some massive punking. The idea that there are videos that give some people odd brain and heart tinglings just is too strange to be fiction.

I'm setting up my big scales now, and as soon as I catch a duck, we'll sort out the witches.
posted by hippybear at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Lol you guys are making me laugh. Sorry you aren't feeling it, but it is real and experienced by many (but far from all) people.
posted by GamesRmeLife at 10:54 AM on April 14, 2011


I guess this is something you either "have" or you don't. Before I clicked on any of the links, I just knew what the OP was referring to when I read "Does this give you head tingles?". It's a sensation I've experienced since childhood and one which I never knew exactly how to describe. It's a sensation I've never discussed with anyone including Mr. Adams (to whom I've been married for almost 17 years) until today when I read this post. I played a couple of the YouTube videos for him, described the feeling I got as best I could and all he could do was shrug and say "I don't get it." And then he proceeded to try and analyze it - "Maybe it's boredom, maybe it's this, maybe it's that..." And I think that that's why he doesn't feel it, and never has as far as he can determine from my description - he's always thinking, analyzing, strategizing. When someone speaks he always concentrates on what is being said, not how it's being said. (Just my own theory, IANA head tingle expert.)

For those who aren't "getting" it, one way I can describe the feeling is to compare it to an old playground trick kids used to do to one another....they'd have you make a tight fist and then would vigorously rub your knuckles for about a minute. Then when you opened up your hand, they'd pretend to pull a spider web off of your hand. That's sort of what head tingles can feel like - a sudden, unbidden relaxing warm-ish tingle from the base of the skull up to the top of your head, like someone is doing the spider web trick to your scalp. The overall result is extremely relaxing and pleasurable.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:15 AM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


My lady friend gets what she describes as 'head itchiness' (which is unpleasant because it's not something she can scratch) and she has to look away from things like barnacles, certain seeds (especially pomegranite seeds), coral (especially brain coral) and burning wood. This seems more pleasant, but does anyone else get that and is there a name for it?
posted by mike_bling at 11:15 AM on April 14, 2011


I'm still not convinced it isn't some massive punking.
Heh. It's definitely a real thing.
But don't feel bad. I could never see those stupid posters they used to sell in malls in the '90's, that were supposed to look all 3-D or something.
"Oh my god, I see it now!" people would all be gasping around me, like they'd finally achieved nirvana or something.
"Just squint a bit, it will start to appear," my friends would coach. "Cross your eyes and then slowly uncross them."
I'd be staring and staring. Nothing. I hated those fucking posters.
posted by chococat at 11:24 AM on April 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


I get this when my head or hair is very gently touched. The last time was when I was having my hair cut and the hairdresser was trimming the hair around my face. My eyes were closed and she was being careful, so her touch was very gentle. At the time, it struck me are more than just her carefulness, but what seemed like tenderness in her tiny movements and the quiet as she worked. It was incredibly pleasurable and, as others have pointed out, not sexual in the least.
posted by hollisimo at 11:26 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks GamesRmeLife! Was hoping for a followup post on this!
posted by yellowbinder at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2011


"Just squint a bit, it will start to appear," my friends would coach. "Cross your eyes and then slowly uncross them."

Here's some more specific advice, if you ever find yourself in the situation again. It requires a fair degree of eye control:

Look at the picture and discern the repeating pattern. It won't be perfect, but it will be recognizable. Slowly start to cross your eyes, and "move" the pattern until one iteration is overlapping the next. The 3D illusion should just kind of POP when you get the alignment right. For me, at this point, my eyes kind of lock in place until I look away or will them to uncross.

I've done the same thing with many patterned surfaces and while you can see some pretty strange effects sometimes, I've yet to encounter an actual image randomly encoded into a bathroom floor or some wallpaper.

On the topic of ASMR - I know the feeling, but these videos didn't really do it for me.
posted by owtytrof at 11:37 AM on April 14, 2011


Here's some more specific advice...
The best way to see magic eye pictures is on a CRT. Focus on your reflection on the glass, not on the image.
But like I'm gonna help you guys if I can't get the [non-masturbatory] tingle!
posted by MtDewd at 11:49 AM on April 14, 2011


And all this time I thought it was just the chip the aliens implanted in my head to keep Reagan out of my dreams.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:49 AM on April 14, 2011


Interesting. I get really blissed out if someone is doing something with my hair (gently combing it or braiding it, for example) but the videos do nothing and the one with the crinkling plastic bag and bricks makes me want to smack it out of his hands.

mike_bling: My lady friend gets what she describes as 'head itchiness' (which is unpleasant because it's not something she can scratch) and she has to look away from things like barnacles, certain seeds (especially pomegranite seeds), coral (especially brain coral) and burning wood

I get something like this, I think. Clusters of barnacles do it, lotus seed pods (ugh), the inside of a pomegranate (not the individual seeds), the interiors of bee or wasp nests. It's this unsettled, skin crawly feeling that I guess could be called an "itchiness." Apparently the Internet thinks it's a sort of phobia called trypophobia (fear of clusters or holes) but I don't think that's an actual thing. I don't have a phobia reaction, I just get sort of simultaneously transfixed and disgusted.

Brains are weird.
posted by castlebravo at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just reading this thread and trying very hard to understand the feeling that other people are describing is giving me a bit of a skin-crawly sensation and the feeling that all the skin on my face and head is too tight. But it's not this. It's my brain trying to psychosomatically recreate it. Which is very interesting, but as a result I'm going to have to stop thinking about it.
posted by penduluum at 1:06 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate them too, chococat. No one's advice has ever worked.
posted by Put the kettle on at 2:08 PM on April 14, 2011


I wonder if this is what causes my husband to twitch like he's been electrically shocked when I gently run my nails down the base of his neck and across his shoulders. He gets sort of a jerky, almost epileptic shudder, then he does a happy growly laugh, which makes me giggle...so I sneak up on him and do it fairly frequently. I'll have to pass the thread along to see what he thinks.
posted by dejah420 at 2:39 PM on April 14, 2011


Count me in as one of those trying to understand the feeling but not getting it. Is it like chills, goosebumps? I'm a knitter, and I get kind of trancey sometimes when I'm looking at "yarn porn" (photos of beautiful yarn or things people have knit)... is it like that? People whispering and unboxing videos do nothing for me.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:59 PM on April 14, 2011


Adding SootheTube into the mix.

Related: iSerenity

This is *so* exciting for me to learn about Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response -ASMR. I realize now that this has been one of my greatest sources of pleasure in life but, until today, I didn't have a name for it. It's not just the thrill of a frisson or mere soothing. It's a whole combination, a bouquet, of pleasurable sensations connected with feeling deeply relaxed yet pleasurably stimulated, it's slightly hypnotic, non-sexual and vaguely dreamy. Maybe a dash of repetitiveness in there but no tediousness. Slightly curiosity stimulating, even a delicate sprinkle of suspense but no drama. It's a sensation that might come during massage, meditation, in a meditative mood or environment, like a Zen garden. It's part of the sensation of being entranced, trance-like but very gentle.

What's so amazing to me is that this hasn't been talked about at length and in many ways for centuries. It's a very specific feeling, much nicer than merely soothing.

Perhaps ASMR is an ancient human pleasure, like that derived from listening to rain, birdsong, the ocean? Maybe it's an animal pleasure too, like purring?

I can really relate to peep's comment.

Perhaps ASMR is connected with certain infant pleasures, like I can imagine it might accompany some bedtime stories, like The Velveteen Rabbit or listening to one of those marvelous chime balls.

I get ASMR feelings listening to wind chimes. Especially big and bigger chimes. And gamelan music.

Or watching Home Shopping Network shows about jewelry.

Perhaps ASMR is the correct sensation to describe the pleasure I get listening to Debussy's Claire de Lune. I hate to mention Enya in the same paragraph as Debussy, but maybe ASMR is the appeal in her music as well and that New Age genre as well with that modal, consonant, drone bass thing.

Certain visuals give me that ASMR mellow blissout too, like Silk and some animated fractal art.

Anyway, going overboard with enthusiasm here, thanks GamesRmeLife for the informative post.
posted by nickyskye at 4:47 PM on April 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Oh man, the optometry one really got me! I get this at every single health care appointment, and it even happens to me when meeting with an adviser or something - as long as they are observing or thinking about me closely, it's a possibility. I also get it from the sorts of rustly sounds in the unboxing videos and other PBS-style how-to shows, like New Yankee Workshop and Bob Ross. My first memory of the feeling is from watching Mr. Wizard's World when I was a kid, they had a fantastic sound stage for that show, all rustling paper and clinking glass.

The other weird thing that triggers it for me is woo (even including being in church, since I was raised without hardly any experience of religion); watching someone get some sort of "spiritual massage" or psychic reading or anything like that just sets it off like crazy.

Oddly, I had never noticed its relaxation benefits before - only the pleasant, electric tingle moving down my scalp, usually out into my arms. I do find it quite relaxing, now that I'm aware of what it is. I'll definitely try to use it more as a relaxation device - "sorry guys, getting a little overwhelmed here, gotta go watch someone unbox a camera or pretend to be an optometrist until my head tingles!"

I'm really curious whether or not ASMR-experiencers have any interesting commonalities. I also hope people don't confuse it too much with the feeling you get from a great story or moving music - I get that too, but this is a very specific scalp-down electrical feeling, not just a chill or good vibration. It's so intense I have trouble speaking or moving during it, but the intense part only lasts for a few seconds.
posted by dialetheia at 5:02 PM on April 14, 2011


OK, I don't get this much anymore. I can almost get it from the optometrist one, but only just barely. That said, the optometrist one was kind of hot, and if she were my optometrist, I would basically get my eyes checked every day. Another thing that would cause similar, but much more intense tingle was to massage my back just below my neck. I also used to get this charge-like feeling in my spine from certain music while wearing headphones that was actually unpleasant. I don't really get any of these feelings much anymore. I've become pretty dull as I've gotten older.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:12 PM on April 14, 2011


Wait, are these those sharp head orgasms? Where it's like someone's driving an orgasm ice pick right through the center-top of your skull? And then it travels downward? I get this when meditating sometimes, and sometimes I can bring it on at will.

And then there's the tingler, which might be up there but I can't be bothered to click on all the links:
http://www.amazon.com/Tingler-Therapeutic-Scalp-Massager-Massage/dp/B0006VSX1Q
(It's not quite the same sensation, but it's insane and definitely in the same category.)
posted by zeek321 at 6:52 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"'AIHO' (attention-induced head orgasm)"

Ok, bingo.
posted by zeek321 at 6:54 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's another human experience that I had to google madly for before I finally found other people who've experienced it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/may/05/healthandwellbeing

check out the comments:
my wife and I call this the "Hold on....I'm ME!" moment
posted by zeek321 at 7:01 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am a fairly anxious person who finds it hard to relax, but weirdly enough, I do experience this. I never knew there was a name for it. It often happens when someone is showing me a crafting technique that involves a lot of fine motor skills--like wirework, beadwork, knitting, painting (that Bob Ross video is a good example, but I think part of that is his voice). I get a warm, buzzy, drowsy feeling, and a tingling sensation at the base of my neck.

The earliest memory I have of this sensation is when I was eight years old, at a friend's birthday party. Her mom was showing us how to make homemade stained glass Christmas ornaments by filling small metal outlines with tiny coloured beads that would melt when she baked them in the oven (anyone remember these? Makit and Bakit? I think they've been discontinued, probably for safety reasons). We used tweezers to put the little beads in the outlines. It made me feel stoned to watch her demonstrate the technique, and it made me feel stoned to make my own ornament and watch my friends making theirs.

Peep's comments about getting checked for scoliosis at school really resonated with me too. Do they even do that to kids anymore?

(I am laughing sheepishly as I type this because I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it is a real thing. There really is no way to describe this without feeling like a freak!)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:05 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


zeek321, I know exactly what you're talking about, too. You might like this episode of RadioLab.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:09 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This used to happen to me a long time ago but not so much as an adult. I still recall almost going into a zombie trance from it, oh, at least 25 years ago in school when I was working on an assignment in class with the girl who sat in front of me. A zombie trance!

It's definitely not sexual at all but it is only female voices that would make it happen. No idea why that is. Except for the fact that men's voices mostly suck, I guess.
posted by Justinian at 7:15 PM on April 14, 2011


Here's another human experience that I had to google madly for before I finally found other people who've experienced it
Holy crap zeek321, my mind is blown twice in the same thread.
I get that too. Once in a while, if staring into a mirror.
Suddenly I realize that I'm me but also it's sort of terrifying because I feel so NOT ANYONE at the same time. And then you sort of snap out of it and go on with your day.

From the comments in that site you linked, this is me:
You can sometime generate the same feeling by staring in a mirror for a long time - suddenly the image stops being just your reflection and briefly becomes this very strange -"oh god, thats ME!"
posted by chococat at 7:36 PM on April 14, 2011


OK. I went to a Tom Paxton and Janis Ian concert tonight. Pretty good all the way through, but when they sang 'That was the last thing on my mind', I got the tingle. So I guess I kinda get it.

But I still can't imagine that kind of tingle from Bob Ross.
posted by MtDewd at 8:00 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nickyskye's mention of windchimes up there made me realize that singing bowls, especially the big ones, totally do this for me. Also being touched gently on my ears.

I'm thinking this phenomenon may be responsible for a lot of the traction of various 'energy healing' modalities...
posted by polymath at 8:32 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


MtDewd, if I understand you correctly, it's not the tingle you get from a great song (I think that's called frisson). ASMR is a specific, kind of hot electric tingle that always starts at the back or top of the skull and radiates outward. It isn't like a chill or a regular tingle, it's sort of like a head orgasm (as described above), and it follows a particular "pathway" every single time. I have wondered what this feeling was my whole life, and I'm totally thrilled to find out it's A Thing. ASMR is a complete revelation to me (and from this thread, it seems that it's a revelation to other people with the response, too) - it's not at all something I have to say "well I guess I felt this that one time, so maybe that's it." I practically jumped for joy when I found out other people had this response and that there was a name for it. I also get intense chills at concerts from great music, and it's emphatically not the same feeling.

I don't mean to be a jerk or invalidate your experience, you could definitely be describing ASMR. I just want to clarify about the music thing, since the response has just barely been described and several people have been very skeptical about the entire phenomenon. I understand the skepticism, but I swear on everything that is sacred that this is a thing that I have experienced my whole life that I have never, ever heard anyone speak of before. It means a great deal to me to hear other people say it happens to them. I never thought to talk to a doctor about it before, but I assumed that nobody else felt it because if they did, they would mention it occasionally since it's such a neat feeling.
posted by dialetheia at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2011


Movie trailers induce this effect in me. But only under certain conditions. The music has to be very dramatic (this is why I've got a collection of Two Steps From Hell music) and someone has to scream NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! at some point.

Actually, it's not just movie trailers. Here's a recent example of what I'm talking about. I'm sure I've watched this at least a thousand times for the feeling I get when watching it. Weird.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:44 PM on April 14, 2011


Longtime lurker, first time poster.

I also cannot believe it is a "thing". I have always felt this when someone explains something, gently fixes something for me, etc.

This is the beauty of the Internet - like when I discovered that other people also got sleep paralysis. What about that thing when you are looking across a room and objects appear to be both where they are and yet infinitely far away. Anyone ever experience that?
posted by MrBubble at 8:47 PM on April 14, 2011


It seems like there's many types of zaps, tingles, and other sensations that lots of people get, but rarely talk about, so everyone thinks they're alone. There have been lots of questions on AskMe about things like this, and there's always lots of "me too"s. (this one seems to be about ASMR). I have a few of them, but not this one.

This needs a name that doesn't involve the word "meridian," stat.
posted by abcde at 9:13 PM on April 14, 2011


I get some pretty big spine tingles from this, but I don't think it's the same thing.
posted by abcde at 9:14 PM on April 14, 2011


MrBubble: What about that thing when you are looking across a room and objects appear to be both where they are and yet infinitely far away. Anyone ever experience that?

Only when I've been feverish and only a few times even then, but yes, I know exactly what you're talking about.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:51 PM on April 14, 2011


Woah, it turns out there's an entire genre on Youtube of people whispering.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:21 PM on April 14, 2011


What about that thing when you are looking across a room and objects appear to be both where they are and yet infinitely far away. Anyone ever experience that?

When I was a kid, yes. I also had a feeling that to this day I can only describe as "giant toothpicks".
posted by dirigibleman at 10:22 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


zeek321: "
And then there's the tingler, which might be up there but I can't be bothered to click on all the links:
http://www.amazon.com/Tingler-Therapeutic-Scalp-Massager-Massage/dp/B0006VSX1Q
(It's not quite the same sensation, but it's insane and definitely in the same category.)"

Okay, I hate (LOATHE) those things too. So if I can't stand spidery wire head massagers or rustling paper, am I doomed to never experience this reportedly wonderful feeling?
posted by Gordafarin at 3:20 AM on April 15, 2011


I always liked watching people get massaged, for exactly that reason. It's so relaxing. Reading brochures about spa treatments is almost as good as getting one too.
posted by lollusc at 4:26 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay watching through those other videos I've noticed that I only get a real AMSR reaction with the tingliness and bliss if I ignore the sound completely. The minute I start to make sense of what the speakers are saying, it disrupts the sensation, so instructionals are not working for me. The massage videos and other medical and pseudo-medical stuff is best, especially with the sound off (I ended up looking at a shiatsu video and finally switched off the sound when she said, "Your gallbladder begins next to your right eye and travels down the neck.").

So people not feeling it, maybe try with no sound. The ear cleaning one was phenomenal for me, anyway.

Interestingly, I was on some medication a few times (for egg donation) that wacked my oestrogen levels up ridiculously high, and each time I spent the whole week before donation (when the levels were highest) feeling like I was experiencing AMSR all the time.
posted by lollusc at 5:19 AM on April 15, 2011


What about that thing when you are looking across a room and objects appear to be both where they are and yet infinitely far away. Anyone ever experience that?

Only when I've been feverish and only a few times even then, but yes, I know exactly what you're talking about.


I've had that after ingesting around 300mg of dextromethorphan. It has to do with the dissociative effects of the drug. Apparently PCP has similar effects in low yet effective dose ranges. The brain does odd things to itself when it gains distance from its own inputs.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 AM on April 15, 2011


Now I'm sure that the 21st century is being written by something like an omnipotent version of Vonnegut. Too, too weird, all of it.
posted by anotherbrick at 1:03 PM on April 15, 2011


Thank you again GamesRmelife, for letting me know this wierd thing I thought no one else had, has a name, has lots of people feeling it (more than just me is a lot) and that it's ok.

It's really liberating. Really. How much? I'm straight, but it's what some of my gay friends tell me it felt like when they found out it was ok to like boys instead of girls, and that they weren't alone.
posted by omegar at 10:37 AM on April 17, 2011


WOW! I had no idea this had a name. I'm triggered by quiet office-atmospheres, t he sound of papers being filed, writing, typing etc. Just add the sound of air conditioning...
posted by marimeko at 4:02 PM on April 21, 2011


no, it's not masterbatory.

What does that even mean? Some of these videos, I see comments like "OMG i watched this 100x".

Maybe a little masterbatory?

I know the feeling, though it's not as strong now as when I was young, pre-puberty probably. The biggest triggers were haircuts, but particularly from women. I'm not sure how anyone can say it's not sexually related at all.

What about that thing when you are looking across a room and objects appear to be both where they are and yet infinitely far away. Anyone ever experience that?

How about when you are in a large bed in a dark room and stretch out and it feels like you're a tiny speck on a huge mattress that stretches for miles in all directions?

Or how about when you get a pain in the palm of your hand out of nowhere? I am always reminded of a Time/Life books commercial about unexplained phenomena where a woman in Kansas gets a sharp pain in the palm of her hand as her sister in California picks up a hot pot. Skeptic/science-based thinker that I am, whenever I feel a phantom pain in my palm, I figure someone close to me somewhere just got hurt.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:14 AM on April 22, 2011


Have always had this; can't understand why it's never become addictive for me, since it feels so cool. Neat so see how many have a version of it (although, admittedly, somewhat disappointed to find out that I don't have a super power).

Mine has always been aural, rather than visual, and triggered by high-frequency pitches: soft whispers have a hint of a hiss in the background; old radiators at school that emitted some kind of just-above-hearing hiss; someone rubbing dry fingertips slowly together. I suspect I used to get it a lot more before all of the CRTs in my life were replaced by LCDs. I can still reliably trigger it by imagining a really high-frequency pitch continuing to ascend until it sounds like office background silence--hits me from the base of my skull to the middle of my spine. I wonder if a dog whistle would work, and if this somehow relates to those, physiologically.

The top of the head sensation always seemed related but separate for me, something I could trigger to some extent by massaging above my nose, along the inner ends of my eyebrows, with two fingertips.
posted by mabelstreet at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am so late to this thread but I am thrilled to find there is a name for the feeling I get when I watch Mr. Rogers.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:21 PM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also late to the thread. I can invoke this at will, but I never get it as the result of watching something. I don't get the head tingles, either, but when I cause it to happen, it's like a rush of feeling "light" along my spine and some tingles along the front and back of legs.

It's really cool that this is a thing. I've wondered about it all my life.
posted by darkstar at 11:18 PM on May 4, 2011


I hardly ever get this more than twice from the same thing. I can remember when I did, but the actual experience is only triggered for me by new things, or sometimes by the newness itself. Reading the table of contents in my English textbook on the first day of my senior year in high school did it so severely I had to fight down a giggle fit. But once the surprise factor wore off, it didn't work any more. Bizarrely, the trailers for Pi and Sin City still do it, though. Love me some black-and-white...
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:42 PM on May 5, 2011


I feel quite left out, as watching all the suggested videos does zilch for me.

I want shivery head tingles!
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:27 PM on May 9, 2011


WOW. Can't believe I missed this thread and I also can't believe there's a NAME for this! I get this lovely sensation from watching people paint, or knit, or do something very methodical like iron shirts or clean a counter with a sponge. Also, oddly, from the rhythmic banging of a hammer, like, say, if there's construction going on somewhere nearby.

I always faltered when trying to describe it to friends. My mind is blown to discover an entire Metafilter post about it -- and a Facebook group, and youtube channels! Awesomeness.
posted by artemisia at 7:28 PM on May 9, 2011


Whoa! Another person here who experiences this, and is pleased to discover this is A Thing. The earliest I remember it was a few times in elementary school, from closely observing people write.
posted by illenion at 7:36 PM on May 9, 2011


I can get one any time, just by recalling this Kate Bush song. Actually hearing it will usually trigger a really strong one that leaves me feeling happily weepy.
posted by flabdablet at 10:15 PM on May 9, 2011


People, people, it's spelled M-A-S-T-U-R-B-A-T-I-O-N.

The word is built around U. Geddit?
posted by unSane at 5:23 AM on May 10, 2011


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