The Fascinating Wolrd of ASMR

The Fascinating World of ASMR

Date: Time: 14:45 Location: Blackbox, Esplanade building (Tilburg University)

ASMR, the feeling some people experience in response to tapping, whispering or crackling, has taken the internet by storm. This symposium is dedicated to this special sensation, as we look into how ASMR is connected to relaxation and digital intimacy. (English / SG-Certificate*)

Time: 14:45-16:30 hrs.  
Admission is free, no registration required.


ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) has been described as a tingling sensation, that appears at the top of your head, traveling down your neck and spine. For some, it is an oddly stimulating sensation, for others it creates a deep sense of calm, but there are also people who may feel nothing special at all, or are even disgusted by it.

The appeal of brain tickling

Nowadays ASMR artists, or ASMRtists, have gathered an immense online audience of people who are looking to trigger an ASMR response by watching their videos. What is the appeal of listening to people whispering a story to you,  seeing them cutting soap, squeezing clay or eating loudly? How is ASMR connected to feelings of relaxation, mindfulness and tranquility? And with Valentine’s day just a few days ago; what role does digital intimacy play in the popularity of ASMR?

ASMR from different angles

This symposium will explore the peculiar corner of the internet called ASMR and the creativity that’s growing around it. Our speakers will discuss different theories and insights on ASMR and digital intimacy. Next to theory, young filmmaker Guus Voorham will be interviewed about his documentary “Alone Together” on ASMR girlfriends. The symposium will be moderated by ‘dr. Love’ Tila Pronk.


  • Ivan Nyklicek

    Ivan Nyklicek

    Associate Professor Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University

    Ivan Nyklíček is a psychologist and associate professor at Tilburg University. His research focuses on attention and emotion regulation in relation to psychological wellbeing and health. He also researches mindfulness, non-judgmental attention to and awareness of present moment phenomena. His most recent study looks at the links between mindfulness meditation, self-view, and wellbeing. Besides his academic work, he is mindfulness practitioner and trainer in Tilburg. During this symposium Ivan will compare ASMR with a mindfulness exercise, looking into its similarities and differences.

  • Inge van de Ven

    Inge van de Ven

    Assistant professor Online Culture, Tilburg University

    Inge van de Ven is a researcher and teacher in literary and media studies at the department of Culture Studies at Tilburg University. She is also a Marie Curie Fellow at the Norwegian Reading Center of the University of Stavanger. Her research focusses on various topics within digital culture, technology and online literature. She has written about ASMR girlfriends and boyfriends in relation to alleviating loneliness and isolation.

  • Guus Voorham

    Guus Voorham

    Documentary & movie maker

    Guus Voorham created the ASMR documentary “Alone Together” for his graduation project at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam: a compilation video of women performing "girlfriend roleplay" on YouTube. By cutting up different videos and putting them together, he created his "ideal girlfriend". During this symposium, Guus will explain how he came up with the idea for this film, how he looks at the phenomenon of ASMR girlfriend and boyfriend roleplay and how this relates to traditional stereotypes.

  • Tila Pronk

    Tila Pronk

    Assistant professor Social Psychology, Tilburg University

    Tila Pronk is an assistant professor at the department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University. Her research focusses on love and relationships, as she looks into the many challenges people encounter when navigating their love life in current times. She wrote a popular press book on romantic relationships (Hartstocht), regularly gives lectures for a general audience, and often appears in the media. Tila was elected ‘Best Teacher of Tilburg University’ in 2022. Her students describe her as a passionate, committed, enthusiastic, and a true role model.

More information

This lecture is organized by Studium Generale.

Contact: Hannah van den Bosch en Annelieke Koster (Studium Generale).

* For students, this lecture may count towards the SG-Certificate. Check the SG-Certificate website for all the terms and conditions. 


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