Nails clicking against the side of a glass. That release of air when a cap is twisted off a bottle. The fizz when the cold liquid is poured into a tall glass.
The sounds from the Michelob Ultra beer commercial that aired during Super Bowl LIII were meant to elicit a physical or emotional response. The commercial even featured a gorgeous tropical setting and a seductive Zoë Kravitz whispering into a microphone for added effect.
The beer company was using autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), a type of video that uses sound to evoke a physical response from viewers. Some people feel tingles on the head and scalp that sometimes spreads down the neck, arms or back. Others report feeling very relaxed. And some report no response.
But is there any science behind it?
ASMR has been around for about a decade, according to VOX.
But very little scientific research has been done to support the claims. And those who have studied the effect of ASMR often end with the conclusion that more research is needed.
In a study from Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, researchers found that they do not understand why some individuals experience the ASMR phenomenon and others do not. They wonder whether those who experience the effects did so because they expected they would.
In another study, researchers at the University of London found that ASMR shares characteristics with misophonia, a disorder that can trigger a negative emotional or psychological response. It would be like the feeling you get when you hear nails on a chalkboard.
Researchers in Cardiff, Wales acknowledge that while there is little data, they “believe that this intriguing phenomenon should be investigated further to explore its effects and potential as a therapy" for sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.