In the department of fun but odd self discovery, neurologist Steven Novella rounds up some material on the phenomenon of autonomous sensory meridian response. Do certain sounds or sights inexplicably relax you and give you a tingling sense down your back or the back of your head? For instance, certain speech patterns, especially with even cadences, or the sounds of tape and wrapping paper, or people performing tasks with focused attention? Anything like that?
Neurological events can have some very odd triggers. For example, in epilepsy, strobe lights are the most famous culprit, and that makes sense - large numbers of neurons get entrained. I was once wired up for a public EEG, with little strobe bulbs against my closed eyes, and the experimenter went through different flash frequencies until he found one that was just right, and caught a bunch more neurons in tow - the class OOOOHed when they saw the amplitude jump on the EEG. And interestingly enough, that frequency was noticeably more unpleasant to me than the others. Even the taste of garlic has been documented as a seizure trigger - the taste, not the smell.
There hasn't been much work on ASMR if only because it's not a pressing medical problem and research dollars are limited. I'm posting this for fun in the hopes that some other readers will have had similar experiences, otherwise I'm about to look like a (bigger) freak. I have this experience with certain speech patterns, and oddly enough, it's specifically with preachers. I was raised atheist so my only experience with them is on video. From the time I was a kid I was aware that a) this is all hooey but b) I get oddly relaxed and tingly listening to people talking this way (some more than others). I don't even have to like the person! What's interesting about it is it's more evidence that the effect that language has on us can be separated into semantic content and non-content categories, and that even for those of us who don't react to it like I do, I expect that most of the effect of language is independent of its semantic content.
2 hours ago