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What is ASMR? It’s the acronym for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” a tingling sensation on the skin that is “most commonly triggered by specific auditory or visual stimuli,” or, as Matthew Sedacca, Eater, calls it, “brain-gasms.” Sedacca introduces us to the world of ASMR food videos, which range from YouTube favorites who film themselves eating, part of the “alt-food-porn community,” says Sedacca, to other YouTube stars who simply film themselves cooking without dialogue. Cooper Nelson, who started Silently Cooking, “focused his show entirely on meal preparation and made special use of the sounds that occurred naturally as he was cooking.” To his surprise, his channel is a hit with ASMR fans on Reddit.
The Eater article dives deeply into what draws people who experience ASMR to these food videos, but could the reason, in part, be that the viewer can focus on pleasurable sounds without being overstimulated by competing ones? It’s just a theory, but Sedacca tells us that Nelson was motivated to post his videos because he was “[t]ired of cooking shows with egocentric hosts and cheesy music.” We agree.
In the end, perhaps the draw of these videos is that they offer respite In a world oversaturated with sound, and by stripping away the layers they allow us to really hear.