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Some examples of ASMR triggers.
Top: Writing on a chalkboard. Middle: Stirring salt with a mortar and pestle. Bottom: Crinkling heavy fabric.
ASMR videos are a popular, if rather niche, genre of content on YouTube. They're specifically designed to provoke the ASMR responsenote  in the viewer by incorporating a wide variety of what are referred to as trigger sounds, with some of the most popular being sounds of crinkling, tapping, scratching, sizzling, or even eating, as well as whispering or speaking softly. Videos can be as simple as the creator simply making the sounds, or be as involved as roleplay scenarios featuring costuming, props, and sets or greenscreen backgrounds.
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Creators from across the world post videos covering a wide variety of topics while featuring tons of ASMR triggers, and many channels exist specifically to cater to ASMR fans. Some people have also discovered that media outside the ASMR community can give the same reaction and have made videos documenting this; The Joy of Painting is one well-known example due to Bob Ross' baritone voice and soft, soothing manner of speech. On the other hand, the genre does have its detractors. Many people accidentally come across the videos and mistake them for simply weird internet videos. Others may be looking for information about a particular topic but come across people unintelligibly whispering. Many people simply find the concept creepy or silly, and some react badly to the ASMR response or certain trigger sounds (misophonia sufferers especially).

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Often used interchangeably with ASMR is "mukbang." Mukbang is a form of video where someone films themselves eating food (usually in large quantities) while talking to their viewers, either in a live-stream format or Fake Interactivity format. The trend began in South Korea but spread to other parts of the internet as well. Mukbang is not the same as ASMR, but many people find they feel tingles while watching mukbang due to them involving similar triggers as ASMR videos. Some people might even be turned off by the sounds of slurping, but that would depend on which part of the world the viewer is, as East Asian countries find slurping acceptable and courteous. Mukbang videos have been criticised for encouraging unhealthy binge eating but they are still popular nevertheless.

ASMR video creators with pages on the wiki:

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ASMR videos provide examples of:

  • Afraid of Doctors: Inverted. Doctors' visits for things such as eye exams, cranial nerve tests, and even checks for hair lice are very common topics for ASMR videos, and are intentionally made to be as inviting and comforting as possible to enhance the feeling of relaxation.
  • Bob Ross Rib: Due to Bob Ross's popularity within the community, homages created by videomakers who dress up as him are not uncommon.
  • Brown Note: Some ASMR videos have effects that could hurt someone. For example, candlelight can trigger seizures for some due to the way it flickers when it's filmed as it's a natural form of Epileptic Flashing Lights. Any video that could provoke the wrong triggers will come with a warning.
  • Ear Cleaning: Both the traditional Japanese manner and more modern versions have been fodder for ASMR videos, with the tools being brushed across the mic to create the desired sounds.
  • Cool Big Sis: Some videos roleplay scenarios in which an older sibling does something caring for the viewer, such as "Big Sister Does Your Makeup".
  • Cosplay: Artists may dress up and act as a character from an existing work or their own character for roleplays.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original Virtual Barbershop recording could be considered an originator of the concept, however it's notable for having NONE of the usual features- there is no video, no one whispers, the listener is expected to close their eyes for the full effect and they refer to the effect as "cetera". Newcomers discovering it may be quite surprised at how different it is from modern ASMR.
  • Extreme Close-Up: Many videos use camera angles that zoom in on the artist's hands or face, to simulate being close enough to be touched. The artist will also often lean in very close to the camera, sometimes as part of a roleplay, other times to whisper into the microphone(s).
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: ...and Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, etc.
  • Fake Interactivity: It is standard in the genre for the "performer" to ask questions of and/or speak to the viewer, to enhance the feeling of communicating with the "performer".
  • Fanservice:
    • This sometimes factors into the theme of a video. For instance, some ASMR videos revolve around the creator being on a beach or showing off a clothing haul, which will involve the creator wearing swimsuits, low-cut and/or midriff-baring shirts, and the like. Other times, an ASMRtist will create a video cosplaying as a character known for having a fanservicey costume, or a scenario in which such dress would be the norm.
    • Outside of their content, some ASMRtists will post fanservicey pics and videos to their social media or as rewards for Patreon patrons and other such supporters.
  • Intimate Hair Brushing: Hair brushing is a popular theme due to its inherently soothing nature and the sound of the brush moving through the hair being a good trigger. Depending on the video, the ASMRtist may brush another person's hair, a wig on a mannequin head, or simulate brushing the viewer's hair by moving the brush around the camera and editing in the sound.
  • Iyashikei: Many videos try to relax the viewer by providing roleplays in idyllic settings. However, increasing numbers of videos subvert this by combining the soft sounds with scary, dangerous, or annoying situations, usually for humour or storytelling purposes.
  • Manipulative Editing: British ASMR creator Sophie Michelle fell victim to this. In late 2018 she gave an interview on Channel 4 talking about ASMR and her career making videos. The studio later edited the footage in a manner that was quite unflattering and showed said footage without her consent on Gogglebox, which led to the people on that show rudely criticizing her and her work.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Cooking, cleaning, folding towels...as long as the trigger is there, people will watch it.
  • Nap-Inducing Speak: ASMR is often used as much as a sleep aid as for the tingle response, and some creators, such as Jojo's ASMR, intentionally style their output to this effect and/or mention it in video titles.
  • Narrator: Some ASMR videos feature a scripted off-screen narration accompanying what the creator is doing on-screen. The aforementioned clothing haul videos are one particular instance, with the creator modeling the clothes while the narration describes how they were obtained, why they're liked, etc.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Many ASMR performers are on a budget so they use household items, their personal property, and/or props that you could find at a "dollar store". Anything goes as long as it can provide the desired triggers. Some videos are just narration over Stock Footage or video the creator shot themselves.
  • Pick a Card: JoJo's ASMR has several videos where he demonstrates magic tricks with playing cards, using both his whispered dialogue and the sounds of the cards moving as triggers.
  • Special Guest: Most of itsblitzzz's ASMR videos are based around her doing hairplay and light massage on a guest. In one such video, she had Melanie Martinez as a guest recipient. A later video's guest was singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart.
  • The Unintelligible: Some videos have the ASMRtist whispering or mumbling in incoherent nonsense speech to use the flow of the spoken sounds as the trigger.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Some ASMR videos build on their cozy appeal by being themed around encouraging words and messages of affirmation.
  • You Taste Delicious: ASMR creators that emphasize what are generally called "wet mouth sounds" will do things such as making "ear eating" and kissing sounds into the microphone.

In-Universe Only:

Live-Action Television

  • Joe Pera Talks With You can be this since Joe Pera speaks in such a quiet, soothing voice, but three particular episodes are specifically dedicated to lulling the viewer to sleep, as well as being funny; "Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep", the animated special that preceded the live-action series, the season one episode "Joe Pera Talks You Back To Sleep", and a special called "Relaxing Old Footage with Joe Pera", released to calm people down during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • On an episode of Would I Lie to You? one of the "This is My..." mystery guests was ASMRtist ASMR Angel, invited onto the program by guest/comedian Joe Lycett as he finds relaxation through watching her videos.
  • On Will & Grace, Will's surrogate (played by Demi Lovato) shoots ASMR videos, and invites Jack and Karen to join her in a live podcast, where they get into a whispered argument.

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Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): ASMR

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ASMR Parody

An ASMR video by College Humor that affectionately parodies the common tropes of an ASMR video.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

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Main / ASMRVideo

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Main / ASMRVideo

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