It seems that social media users just can’t get enough of the tingling that they are receiving from watching satisfying ASMR videos. ASMR formally stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and stimulates a static response on the skin that feels rather euphoric. Recently, it has become an increasingly popular trend on the internet.
These satisfying videos include people whispering and lightly tapping nails, some cutting soap or sand, and others crushing flower foam. The point of all these actions is to capture the soft noises in a microphone. When viewers listen, the sounds send chills down their spine from their neck. Some love this feeling while others hate it because it is a natural bodily response and is often uncontrollable.
While the sounds are appealing to many, the visuals of oddly satisfying videos are also an attraction. One of the most popular kinds of ASMR is videos of slime. In 2017, Google’s most-searched “how-to” query was “How to make slime.” People are creating channels on YouTube and accounts on Instagram to promote their slimy creations made with glitter, beads, and other decorative materials.
Slime can be made from simple and inexpensive things like borax and Elmer’s glue, which is part of the reason why young and savvy creators are finding it so appealing. It seems that teens have continued to jump on this trend because it is an easy pastime and because it is so popular.
On the surface, it is extremely obvious why young adults are captivated by satisfying creations like slime. Delving deeper into the reasoning of the popularity, professor Craig Richard of ASMR University explains that there is a childlike connection to our love of satisfying videos.
“‘It is appealing to our younger brain because we’re hardwired to be entranced by hand movements…We evolved to learn fine motor skills by watching what someone else is doing with their hands” said Richard. The simplicity of observing someone else using their hands to maneuver materials is intriguing and almost feels like reverting to childhood.
Going back to a younger time in our minds may be pleasing, whether it’s due to current stress in our lives or the reminder of happy times as a child. Another reason for teens’ interest in ASMR and likewise media is earlier exposure to screens. Generations are continuously exposed to streaming entertainment at younger ages and may miss out on opportunities to develop their fine motor skills. Therefore, watching others perform an action rather unknown is fascinating.
Other researchers have gathered the idea that ASMR is similar to white noise. Watching videos creates a “state of zen” for viewers and may help people to relax. Like listening to rain noises to fall asleep, the noises are rather constant and come without surprise. Those that watch these videos know what to expect, and the sounds can be soothing.
Aesthetics are also a portion of the attraction. People make ASMR videos to be visually pleasing, whether it be with glitter or bright colors. Beautiful, adorned knives used to cut the material accompany the pretty slimes and sands. These art forms attract a much larger crowd by incorporating many different objects to capture the attention of different audiences.
For those perfectionists of the world, soap cutting videos can be especially comforting. Generally, people cut a bar of soap into miniscule squares and then shaved off to reveal another flat level of the soap. This is continued until there is none left. Shaving off small pieces of a fresh, new bar of body wash is recurrent as well. Because the cuts are so clean and precise, it is easy for people to gravitate towards the videos for a sense of comfort and gratification.
It is also common for social media users, especially those on Instagram, to recite their recipes for their creations. Some even sell their own brand as personal vendors to those looking to be oddly satisfied. This promotion of the trend influences young people to look into making or using their own slime or sand and potentially filming their own videos.
Between soap, sand, and slime, there are many different ways that young people are fulfilling their cravings for contentment. Millions of YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat users are spending time watching ASMR videos to get just a bit more of that tingling sensation. As the oddly satisfying trend grows, so does questioning of what exactly gives the craze its popularity.