Previous research has suggested that those with the ability to experience ASMR may have higher levels of neurological status. However, the exact relationship between ASMR and personality traits is not clear.
To help clarify, Eid and colleagues asked 36 ASMR experiencers and 28 non-experiencers to watch the video that trigger ASMR. Participants completed several questionnaires before and after watching the video to assess their neuroticism, general tendency to experience anxiety (“trait anxiety”), and moment-to-moment anxiety (“state anxiety”).
Statistical analysis of participants’ responses found that people with ASMR experience had higher levels of neuroticism and trait anxiety, and also had higher levels of state anxiety before watching the video however, this type of anxiety was reduced after watching the video, and those with ASMR experience benefited greatly from the video. After the video, non-experiencers did not undergo a reduction in state anxiety.
Further analysis suggested that the differences in neuroticism and anxiety between ASMR experiencers and non-experiencers accounted for the observed difference in the pre- and post-video change in anxiety statistically, highlighting the potential importance of these personality traits.
Overall, these findings suggest that ASMR experiencers may have greater levels of neuroticism and anxiety disorders than non-experiencers. They also suggest that ASMR could serve as an intervention for individuals with elevated levels of neuroticism and/or anxiety in general. But further research is needed to study limitations and to enhance better understanding.
The authors said “Our study found that watching an ASMR video reduced anxiety in those who experience ASMR tingles even when previously not familiar with the phenomenon. Personality characteristics which are linked with high anxiety were also associated with these benefits, therefore ASMR may be a suitable psychological intervention for anxious individuals in general.”