Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response: A Morning TV Breakthough


Molly Shannon image by David Shankbone.

I owe Molly Shannon (formerly of Saturday Night Live) a fathomless debt of gratitude.

I saw her on Good Morning America the other day. She was being interviewed about her new movie, “A Private Life.” In the beginning, she mentions how she loves being checked and patted down by airport security. It gives her a relaxed, spine-tingling feeling.

This captured my attention because of a blog post I wrote in 2015 about “A Scalp-Tingling Feeling” I get when someone writes on a chalkboard or I’m at a bookselling event and there’s the white noise of peaceful conversation in the background. It zones me out and is very pleasant.

I called it scalp-tingling contentment. Some of my readers called it “flow” or bliss, but thanks to Molly Shannon, I now know the syndrome is more properly defined as ASMR, which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

It’s an actual thing! I’m not crazy! There’s even a Facebook group for it!

People started working in 2007 to define it and by 2010, an organization was founded called the ASMR Group to support people who experience this feeling and to investigate it further.

Wikipedia says that, “ASMR signifies the subjective experience of “low-grade euphoria” characterized by “a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin.” It is most commonly triggered by specific auditory or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control.” (Whatever that is.)

It’s amazing what you can learn from morning TV sometimes.

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