Can you feel it? Individual differences in ASMR and the role of attention


Autonomous Sensory Meridian Respnse (ASMR) has gained growing public interest, yet the exact mechanisms underlying ASMR is less well-known. ASMR is characterized by a tingling sensation emanating from the scalp, triggered by specific, idiosyncratic stimuli. This sensation is also accompanied by a sense of relaxation and calmness. Few previous literature have investigated the role of attention in ASMR, and none to date has examined the effect of directly manipulating attention on perceived ASMR intensities. Additionally, the correlation between ASMR and several personality traits have been controversial.

Research Questions / Hypotheses

To investigate the role of attention and confirm the correlations between personality traits and ASMR.


There were 140 participants who signed up for this study; 28 participants did not complete the study, and 112 participants completed the study.


Materials An online survey comprising of audio clips, short Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences and the Big Five Inventory-2. Procedure Participants completed an online Qualtrics survey. The survey comprised of three parts: the first part asked for their demographic details and previous ASMR experiences. In the second part, the participants listened to three audio clips under different conditions (focused attention or while completing an attention-demanding task) and were asked to rate their tingle intensity and relaxation scores. The last part of the survey comprised of the two personality inventories listed above.


Results will be analysed using t-tests and ANOVAs. It is expected that under divided attention, ASMR intensity will decrease compared to when in focus attention. There will also be positive correlations between ASMR intensity, levels of Extraversion, Neuroticism, and schizotypy.


This study will shed light on the underlying neural mechanisms of ASMR. The role of attention in ASMR will be explored and compared to that of similar phenomena. Additionally, this study will affirm the correlations between ASMR and the Big Five personality traits. The relationship between schizotypy and ASMR as an unusual experience will also be explored for the first time. These will give insight to how individual differences affect ASMR and prompt future investigations. This research is done for a honours thesis.