I find ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) interesting, and I sometimes use it to relax at night. Now I am wondering if the "sensation" that ASMR provides can be beneficial to memory retention. For example, if I listen to a soft voice whispering vocabulary and phrases, would the ASMR sensation act as a catalyst for the learning process?


4 Answers 4


In many ASMR videos where there is voice, the speaker speaks slowly and clearly. The absence of noise also helps focusing. These factors can improve memory retention. I don't know if the "ASMR" effect itself helps.


In an article in The Independent (21 July 2012), Tom Stafford, Lecturer in Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Sheffield, is quoted as saying that ASMR, "might well be a real thing, but it's inherently difficult to research. The inner experience is the point of a lot of psychological investigation, but when you've got something like this that you can't see or feel, and it doesn't happen for everyone, it falls into a blind spot." (The quote is reproduced on countless websites about ASMR.) If Wikipedia is to be trusted, researchers are still trying to figure out what ASMR is.

It is probably too early to find research on ASMR and learning. I could not find any relevant papers in/on ERIC, ResearchGate, ScienceDirect, Springer, Wiley Online Library, JSTOR or Taylor & Francis. (I don't have access to PsycINFO/PsycNET, which should be the first place to look.)

In the mean time, language learners can try out language learning techniques using ASMR, and describe their experiences on blogs, forums, etc. (They should describe them in enough detail so other learners can "reproduce" the technique and see if they get the same or similar results.) This way, language learners outside academia can create informal case studies, and we can then see if certain patterns or even good practices emerge from this.


There have been teaching methods that devoted attention to relaxation, most notably Georgi Lozanov's Suggestopedia. Wikipedia mentions that some critics considered Suggestopedia as pseudo-science.


Very interesting question. Even if ASMR does not by itself actually improve memory retention, the method could still be beneficial to students who do not like "normal" study methods of vocabulary, but enjoy listening to ASMR. This way it could even be beneficial for language learning even if the memory retention is actually worse than with a normal voice just reading lists of vocabulary, but the student enjoys the ASMR-version more and therefore listens to it more often.


I find ASMR distracting when it happens during an interaction with someone else. I focus more on the feeling than on what's happening around me. I don't think it would be useful as a learning tool.

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