Thursday, December 30, 2010

Primary Run of First ASMR Video Trial Coming to an End

ASMR Research & Support has been running the first video experiment for nearly the past two months or so, and we received plenty of volunteers who watched the video and answered the questions that followed. Thanks for pitching in by the way, those that did!

Now the first video trial will be closing, sort of, today (December 30th), with the results of it being compiled. After this the primary run of the second trial will commence sometime next month, probably.

You can still sign up for the research effort over at the Research & Support website and take part in the first video trial – which I’ve learned that even though the primary run has closed, will remain open for those who haven’t yet participated. So it’s not closing permanently, but the results of the trial so far will be compiled and the second trial will take place soon after. Hope you understand all that. Those who have all ready done the first trial will just head on to the next one.

Speaking of which, I’m probably not at liberty to talk about this at length, but for a spell, I might be adding more duties to my my list when it comes to work for the research team. One of those duties is now a position in the Experimental Research & Oversight Division, which Jenn has pretty much taken care of by herself up until now. Jenn will be busy for the next while and so I’ll be temporarily taking over the processing of applications for the video trials. My colleague, Domagoj, might also lend a hand.

Also remember the ASMR forums are there with volunteer forums opened for those registered on the website. Here you can read about the latest news that’s going on concerning the trials, as well as communicate with other volunteers and forum members too.

Once again, thank you for you participation in these video experiments. The more people that do them the better, as we can really assemble some proper data and have one more credible research item for the team’s portfolio which we can eventually one day use to approach a scientific or social studies body for a possible research grant.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Official ASMR Twitter Account is Now Open

UNFearth7For nearly the past year I’ve relied on my existing Twitter account to communicate with my followers and such – and these are mainly people from HubPages, where I have a couple of profiles where I publish articles and such. But I recently thought about the fact that we still didn’t have an official, dedicated Twitter account, even though the ASMR Facebook Group has been around since January or February 2010, and the YouTube Channel has existed for six months now.

So recently I went about setting an official account up. So I’m running two Twitter accounts: one is my personal account and the other is dedicated to ASMR. I’m surprised I didn’t do this sooner, but I was busy with a lot of other stuff throughout the year. I think over the Christmas weekend I was able to focus a bit more on things, that’s all.

I know that some of the community is on twitter, because I’ve followed some of the #ASMR tags that I myself put on some of my tweets on my other account in the past. So make sure to follow us on the account, and you can send direct messages, as well as read some of my own tweets which I’ll leave from time to time. These will include updates on the community, my personal trigger events, as well as other topics revolving around ASMR. Sounds like fun, right?

I’ll also from now on be including this account as an official ASMR network site, along with the Facebook Group, this website, UNF, and the ASMR forums, among others.

So once again, make sure to head on over there and follow me, and I’ll return the favour. Then we can chat about things and the like just like on other network sites. See you there!

By the way, I’ve put links to the Twitter page on the site, on the sidebar, the hotspots page, and also the twitter icon under the “follow us” heading in the sidebar now links to this new account rather than my other one.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ASMR Community on YouTube is Growing

I’ve noticed lately that there’s quite a community dedicated to the phenomenon we know as ASMR on YouTube. I thought it was just my channel on there that had a playlist and such of collected trigger videos, often recommended by the Facebook Group members. But I’ve learned that there are other channels on YouTube that serve the same purpose, and some have been around for a while longer than the UNF YouTube Channel.

And the two or three I’ve come across also have favourited videos from other channels on their playlist. But I’m still looking for one that has user uploaded videos that are actually intended to trigger ASMR, and not just ones that happen to do it by incident. But this could be difficult seeing as what works for one asmer might not work for another.

An example of this is a channel called The Brain Tickle. On here there are videos that are grouped into this intended trigger collection, and consist of  the unboxing of products and so on. And people often cite that one of their many triggers is the unwrapping of things; the crinkling of paper, etc.

There's also a channel that was recently started that so far has one video that delves in to ASMR in a long, more opinionated point of view that even mentions a couple of the network sites. This is over at asmrgirl’s channel.

However, one of the most common triggers out there, and which is also very prominent on YouTube, is whispering. There are many channels with numerous playlists and videos within them dedicated to this – what I consider one of most pleasant things in the world: whispering. More people need to do this once in a while.

I was recently informed that there’s even a community that’s been set up which revolved around this subject matter. It’s a forum called YouWhisper and is made up of members who have accounts dedicated to whispering on YouTube, or enjoy watching videos of it.

By the way, I thought I would mention that the UNF YouTube Channel has hit a milestone, in being six months old this week. The date it was started was the 23rd of June, 2010. Currently the channel has over 150 videos that have been bookmarked, and it’s approaching 50 subscribers too.

Also, in case I don’t say it later on, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everybody! I’ll likely take a well-earned rest over the Christmas weekend and New Years as well, but over this period I’ll still schedule or publish some posts that I’ve written over the past while.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tingle Triggers: Acoustic Guitars

Yes, I know the screenshot is actually from S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky The other night I downloaded a collection of acoustic covers of songs that featured in a game called S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. They weren’t just ripped from the game itself, but were made by a fan of the game. I first heard word of this a long time ago, but only just recently did I get around to downloading it.

While I was listening to the rather beautiful music, I noticed that I did get a bit of an uncharacteristic tingle or two. In some of the tracks, if you focus on the sounds, you can pick up (no pun intended) on the subtle string noises on the acoustic guitar. I think this helped in starting off the sensations.

This was more evident on the later tracks (try Track 10). And it seemed to be intensified in the OGG versions of the tracks. OGG is a more compressed and slightly higher quality file type than MP3. The MP3 versions were also present in the zip file. The OGG ones had more bass to them and sounded a little less harsh than the other variety.

In any case, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this as a way to trigger off my ASMR: listening to acoustic guitar music. You think I would have after years of having to live next to some little brat who still can’t play for toffee!

If you want to listen to these, you can download them here. There are eleven tracks all in all, in two different file formats. MP3 is obviously more compatible with most media players, but you should be able to get the OGGs working with a little effort.

If nothing else, this makes for some great music, even if you don’t experience anything else* from them. I can’t guarantee that all “asmers” will get it from listening to the tracks. Some might and others might not.

* You know what I mean by now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Read This Chilling Research Article

I’ll bet that caught your attention, didn’t it? It’s actually less scary than it sounds. It’s good news, and is related to our research on what we know as ASMR. They tend to call it “chills” in this report.

The other day a member of the community posted something very interesting on the Facebook Group wall. It was a link to a research article about chills experienced while listening to music. It turns out that from their studies they’ve been able to conclude that not everybody experiences this (all ready sounding familiar), and others get it a lot.

Just reading the blurb or intro on the site made me see similarities to what we’ve been talking about and researching ourselves.

You can either read the report online, or like me, you can download the PDF file, which I find more convenient for offline reading. That’s just my preference though. In it, for the first page or so you’ll notice a lot of similarities to what we know as ASMR, like I said, although after this there’s a lot of verbosity and intense reading, as well as tables and such. Quite scientific.

I’d like to quote a few passages here. This is really just the opening paragraph but sums it up nicely:

“Most people report that listening to music sometimes creates chills—feeling goose bumps and shivers on the neck, scalp, and spine—but some people seem to never experience them. The present research examined who tends to experience music-induced chills and why. A sample of young adults completed measures of chills, the Big Five domains, and their music preferences, habits, and experiences. Latent variable models found that openness to experience was the strongest predictor of the typical experience of chills during music. Several mediation models considered likely mediators of this effect. Openness to experience predicted music preferences, particularly for reflective and complex genres, but genre preferences did not in turn predict chills. In contrast, several markers of people’s experience and engagement with music in everyday life, such as listening to music more often and valuing music, did mediate openness’s effects. Some implications for bridging state and trait approaches to the chills experience are considered.”

This research report was published in October and the studies were carried out by Emily C. Nusbaum and Paul J. Silvia, both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This was also unpaid research work.

You can read the whole thing in its entirety here.

Source: Shivers and Timbres: Personality and the Experience of Chills From Music

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ASMR and Video Games: Blood

Blood2_cover I am a big fan of the old school 90’s shooters, particularly from the Build engine era. Build was a game engine created by Ken Silverman, who was at one time the chief rival of John Carmack, of id Software fame.

The Build engine powered several games from 1995 until 1999. People often talk about the “big four build games”. These are Duke Nukem 3D, Redneck Rampage, Shadow Warrior, and Blood.

Now Blood is likely my second favourite out of the build games, with Duke 3D being first. I grew up playing that game. But Blood is also a favourite for another reason. It tends to bring on the occasional bit of tingling sometimes.

If you’ve ever played it, you’d find this hard to believe. The game is full of gore, and mostly what you’d expect from a title that bears this name. Caleb, the protagonist, is a psychotic, sadistic, undead gunslinger who is out for revenge against the Cabal, a cult who forsook him long ago, essentially burying him alive.

When Caleb isn’t craving bloody vengeance, he’s usually laughing maniacally while inflicting pain on his foes.

But Caleb does have a certain charm to him. At the beginning of Chapter II and III, “Even Death May Die” and “A Farewell to Arms” respectively, he has a line at the very start.

“You’re going to need a bigger boat” is what he says while approaching the ship trapped in ice, and “I’m gonna paint the town reeeddd!” is what he utters after dropping in to the level. I find that this line is particularly stimulating as far as triggering ASMR goes.

Also, when Caleb is left idle for too long, he often starts singing tunes like “Strangers in the Night”. When he says some of these lines, the way it comes out; so slow and coarse, it does tend to trigger of my sensillations, admittedly.

Monday, December 6, 2010

ASMR is More Intense When You’re Stressed

Stress BallI’ve read on some ASMR network sites that ASMR can be used to combat stress – and I highly believe in this strategy, seeing as I use it myself quite effectively, and often at that.

I’ve noticed that my “brain tickle” is more intense when I’m stressed. Perhaps if ASMR has to do with serotonin, which is quite often brought up in discussion here and there, if means that I’m actually experiencing a higher release of the chemical in the brain, and therefore experiencing this physically – mainly on the scalp. Like it’s been said before: we tinglers out there “feel” the rush.

Whether this is biologically correct or even possible, I’m still not sure. That’s what the ongoing research is in aid of!

I really do feel relaxed too, and sometimes battle to keep my eyes open, when I experience ASMR when stressed. Now I compare this to when I’m all ready in a relaxed state, or when I’m trying to concentrate on something else – having forgotten about what it was was that was stressing me out. I don’t feel it as much. I get a light tingling sensation, but not that intense.

I can practically use this method to ascertain whether I’m too stressed or not – using it as a gauge of sorts - which is interesting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tingle Triggers: Adam Sandler Skits

Adam Sandler 6821 To most, Adam Sandler is Hollywood’s funny guy. In addition to being a somewhat amusing actor, who sometimes takes more serious roles, he’s also what some would call a great businessman who produces his own films as well as starring in them (it’s either him or his best friend, Rob Schneider).

But Adam is multi-talented: he’s also a musician, and on top of that he’s made some comedy sound samples, some of which are hilarious, and included them on his music CDs.

One memorable one in particular was the skit called “The Hypnotist” off of 1996’s “What The Hell Happened To Me?”, when Adam, starring as Gary Phelps, a man trying to kick a smoking habit he’d had since a child, went to a hypnotherapist (or hypnotist as referred to in the recording), named Dr. Stuart, who had a problem with extreme flatulence. As he was trying to relax Gary and carry on with the session, he would start to let rip – often blaming it on the new leather couch, Gary, or trying in vain to disguise the sounds with coughing or speaking louder.

But besides this, Dr. Stuart has a rather deep, soothing voice – characteristic of a good hypnotherapist. This character was played by Kevin Nealon, a Saturday Night Live mainstay for years during the eighties and nineties. He stars as Doug in Weeds nowadays.

If you can control your laughter, you might be able to feel a tingle stage or two when listening to Nealon speaking. I swear when I listen to this track I can almost smell what’s going on! That might be a bit distracting, but anyway.

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