Therapeutic ASMR Trigger Project


During my research I came across Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). It is a neologism to describe a distinct, stimulating, ‘tingling’ sensation that typically arises in the head and scalp and then passes down the back of the body and through the limbs. This sensation is in response to most prominently, visual and auditory, as well as, tactile, olfactory or cognitive stimuli.  ASMR has little or no scientific explanation or verification but is a growing controversial community on social media websites such as YouTube claiming that is helps with anxiety, insomnia and stress. This community online consist of ‘ASMRists’, who create videos online to trigger this feeling. These videos include triggers such as:


  • Sound triggers- Tapping, crinkling, ear cupping, whispering, mouth sounds, scratching, breathing, popping,

  • Affirmations

  • Roleplaying- haircut appointment, doctors appointment.

  • Slow accented or unique speech patterns

  • Personal attention- empathetic or sympathetic reactions

  • 3D atmospheric- first person view point- camera.

  • Art, music, educational lectures.

  • Diligently completing a task- filling out a form, inspecting an object, and working.


After thorough research into ASMR I found little scientific evidence on the concept but vast amounts of videos online demonstrating these ideas and a huge following with anecdotal evidence. In fact, during my research I discovered that I, myself, was triggered by some of the videos and this verified to me that although a new form of relaxation it was worth pursuing. The fact that I could only find a few, if any, Animation ASMR videos further intrigued my interest in filling the niche.  ‘ASMRists’ such as ‘ASMRequest’, ‘Gentlewhispering’ and ‘MassageASMR’ are all channels that I looked into and inspired my own ASMR films.


I decided to create a YouTube account dedicated to therapeutic animation films, including videos that introduced ASMR as a way of receiving feedback for my research. These multilevel ASMR based videos feature: ear to ear soft speaking and whispering, binaural sound triggers such as tapping, crinkling, scratching, static/ white noise, mouth sounds, breathing and also includes musical instruments to create suspense. The visual triggers include digitally composed light movement, inspired by light ASMR role play videos, colour, shape morphing, movement and ripples to add to the relaxing environment. I created four videos, a ccollection looking into therapeutic animation and the response that the combination of animation and ASMR techniques will bring. 


To create these videos I combined Self Animation therapy and experimentation, collecting a gallery of tests with time lapse, stop motion, digitally created pieces and recorded sounds myself. I also got in touch with a composer called Liz Muir who recorded sounds, as well as composed the sound tracks for three of the ASMR films. Originally, I had planned on setting up a workshop where the degree students could listen to the tracks and create an animation in response, however due to time constraints and delays in receiving the tracks I had to adapt this idea to creating the films personally. 




I would love to hear any feedback and would be interested to see what you think. 


Please wear headphones when watching for full effect.

ASMR sound piece | visual Animation triggers  

Sound Composed by Liz Muir

Includes time lapse, sand and lentil stop motion animation with binural sounds. Inspired by dreams. 



ASMR Sound Piece | Visual Animation Overloading Triggers 

Sound Composed by Nicola Dunlop

Organic based piece, morphing, colours, ink and synced beat movement. 

 ASMR sound piece | visual Animation and Light Triggers 

Sound Composed by Liz Muir

Mainly based around light triggers and continuous movemement. inspired by the stars and the night. 




ASMR Sound Piece | Visual Animation Triggers 

Sound Composed by Liz Muir

Ink in water, flowing. In the deep. 


These are a selection of some of the tests made through out this experimentation. 

How I composited the pieces

How I edited the sounds

These print screens show how I edited the sounds to create stereo and binaural the stereo affect by editing the volume on each headphone side.

over lapping and repeating to create echo and multi-layered sounds.