Devaan describes it as a pulsing, tingling feeling on the back of his neck. His preferred stimuli are whispers, shuffling cards, scissors, tapping noises, anything that makes a crisp enough sound to trigger his ASMR. These sounds make him feel relaxed, euphoric and drowsy.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is a physical reaction experienced by some unknown percentage of the population (to varying degrees). Due to being only recently recognized and named, ASMR is still poorly understood scientifically. Its evolutionary purpose (if any) is uncertain, though one popular theory suggests that it might serve a social bonding or grooming purpose.
Devaan’s ASMR awakening came one day at work when a co-worker whispered into his ear. He googled “Why does my brain tingle when I hear whispering?” He stumbled into the online community of “ASMR artists” (aka. “ASMRtists”) who stimulate huge audiences with their preferred triggers.
He used these videos daily to combat his mild insomnia. Soon he became reliant on them for sleep, consuming ASMR videos endlessly. He became desensitized, even to his favorite videos, and thinks that he was (and maybe still is) addicted to them.
Today, Devaan still uses ASMR videos to fall asleep, though he says he’s now more careful with his consumption.
Molly Segal produced this episode.
Screaming: Benjamin Harper | | | John Hill