Brain tingles, ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. What is it? Why does it happen? And does it play a role in creativity? Brain tingler Isy Suttie investigates.
The comedian and actor Isy Suttie sets out to explore how creativity is influenced by the mysterious and medically controversial phenomenon ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). Ever since she was little, Isy has been experiencing what she and her family describe as 'head squeezing' - a euphoric, incredibly relaxing version of goose bumps that starts around the head or face and travels around the body. A few years ago she realised not everyone got this feeling, that it's got a name - ASMR, or 'brain tingles'. There are hoards of online videos designed to trigger the feeling - often involving whispering women offering to book you a golfing holiday, test your eyes, wrap your gifts or tutor you on how to fold the perfect towel. Isy watches some ASMR videos with fellow comedian Joe Lycett, who's also experienced it, as has the journalist and musician Rhodri Marsden. Zoe Fothergill and Claire Tolan are two artists who've made work inspired by ASMR videos. Isy speaks to Charlotte Luke aka The ASMR Angel who has thousands of internet followers. She meets Dr Nick Davis who's carried out research into ASMR and she heads off to Sheffield University where she's wired up to a machine which tests her responses to different videos, to try to unravel how and when ASMR occurs.