All reviews of published articles are made public. This includes manuscript files, peer review comments, author rebuttals and revised materials. Note: This was optional for articles submitted before 13 February 2023.
Peer reviewers are encouraged (but not required) to provide their names to the authors when submitting their peer review. If they agree to provide their name, then their personal profile page will reflect a public acknowledgment that they performed a review (even if the article is rejected). If the article is accepted, then reviewers who provided their name will be associated with the article itself.
The authors have adequately addressed all comments.
# PeerJ Staff Note - this decision was reviewed and approved by Stephen Macknik, a PeerJ Section Editor covering this Section #
The authors addressed my concerns raised in the original review and therefore I recommend this article for publication.
All my concerns are well addressed.
The reviewers general commented positively on the manuscript. The authors should address the comments that were provided in the revised manuscript.
This report is well written and concise. The study explores a timely question of the potential link between ASMR and mindfulness. The rationale for the study is clearly explained and the research question is well formulated and straightforward.
The design of the experiment and the numbers of participants in the control and experimental groups are adequate.
Several issues have been identified:
1. The recruitment of the controls is straightforward; however, it isn’t clear how it was established that the participants in the ASMR group did indeed experience ASMR. The authors mention they were recruited from ASMR Reddit site, however, raw data set and the supplemental materials do not seem to include any methods of verification of ASMR. Were they asked explicitly whether they experience ASMR (as were the controls)? There are questions related to how often they watch ASMR videos etc. on the ASMR checklist but many people enjoy watching such videos without experiencing the sensory response. Therefore, I am concerned that as these participants didn’t explicitly state that they experience the physiological response which constitutes ASMR, there is no way of knowing whether they indeed experience ASMR.
2. The raw data set doesn’t include answers to all questions listed in ASMR checklist. E.g. this question is missing: ‘What is the earliest age you can recall having an ASMR experience? (For example, if you remember first having an ASMR experience at the age of four, please choose "4". In this question, a "first ASMR experience" refers to the first time that you noticed you were experiencing ASMR-related tingles, even if at the time you did not know what they were called’).
3. Means and SDs should either be stated in the results section or a reference to the table containing this information should be provided.
4. The results of correlational analysis reported on p.13 line 305 are in fact non-significant rather than marginally significant – it would probably be more appropriate to refer to it as marginally non-significant
5. The authors could also cite another paper which reported the same finding with regards to openness to experience among individuals reporting to experience ASMR - Janik McErlean, A., & Banissy, M. (2017). Assessing individual variation in personality and empathy traits in self-reported Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Multisensory Research, 30(6), 601-613. doi:10.1163/22134808-00002571
6. The explanation of the gender differences on Curiosity subscale of the TMS is a bit vague. Could the authors elaborate on what is meant by ‘attentional mechanisms’ and ‘more cognitive processes’ (p.15, line 349)?
7. I don’t think that consistency of ASMR tingles to specific triggers has been examined and established so far. Therefore, it is probably better to not include this description (p.2 line 43)
This is a timely study which further contributes to the understanding of the nature of ASMR. However, clarification regarding the points mentioned in this review is needed.
The writing is excellent technically and easy to follow, with very clear and precise wording. As a whole, the article is tight and flows well. The literature review is concise, yet provides a solid explanation of ASMR, its relationship to mindfulness, and the rationale for the investigation. The references are relevant. It may be worthwhile to consider expanding the background to include previous findings regarding other traits associated with ASMR (e.g., Fredborg, Clark & Smith, 2016; Janik McErlean & Banissy, 2017). I think it is up to the authors' discretion, however, whether it would fit into the nicely focused structure of this article. Results are clearly reported, and the use of headings to separate results by instrument makes for a straightforward reading experience. The raw data has been shared as requested, along with consent form and human subjects approval.
This is a methodologically sound research article on a topic relevant to the health sciences. The authors present a defined research question and state their hypotheses. The aim of the study is to offer "novel insight into the phenomenology of ASMR, while also showing how this atypical conscious state is related to mindful states and traits." Recruitment methods and all procedures are clearly indicated. The instruments are well-described with technical properties reported. The inclusion of the author-designed ASMR Checklist in the supplemental materials also allows for replicability of results.
The authors used age and sex-matched participants and utilized an additional screening method for ASMR to ensure the samples were accurately represented. I did wonder about the potential for sampling bias because different methods were used to recruit ASMR and non-ASMR participants, and perhaps this should be noted. Results are reported with specificity, including both significant and non-significant findings. I appreciated that authors often noted the strength of correlations presented. They justifiably conclude that there appears to be a correlation between mindfulness and ASMR, as is supported by the findings of this research. They raise a number of interesting questions (e.g., whether ASMR is a cognitively active process) and potential future research directions (e.g., whether mindfulness training would increase likelihood of ASMR).
Some reporting should be tabulated, see below.
This study is on an extremely interesting phenomenon, and one which is chronically under-investigated compared to its popular interest. The authors should be commended for their understanding and approach of such a topic, which might be regarded as falling outside the range of 'acceptable' topics for an academic endeavour.
As the field is nascent, I feel it is appropriate for review to be reasonably forgiving - all preliminary work such as this is eventually at the very least heavily qualified by later replications and more concrete concepts. To try to hold the work to a standard of a well-established field may serve to not allow the field to develop at all. However, it also pays to be scrupulous.
These are points as they occur in order. I have left page numbers in the copied sections for reference:
* "In addition, the intensity and duration of ASMR
57 experiences are often under the control of the individual, a characteristic that distinguishes
58 ASMR from the automatic sensory responses of synesthesia."
It is a shame this point was not expanded further. As far as I am aware, synesthesia is an entirely automatic and non-conscious mechanism. However, ASMR is - presumably - capable of being suppressed even when participants encounter a strong stimulus. This is a strong piece of evidence in favour of the similarity to mindfulness (especially when experienced as a cultivated habit or meditation). Future work would do well to include an item about the *capability of suppressing ASMR*, which may vary with the perceived strength of the phenomenon.
251 principal-components analysis of the 14 items on the checklist revealed five “intensity” factors
252 underlying the common ASMR-triggering stimuli chosen for the checklist, each of which had an
253 eigenvalue greater than 1.0. These intensity factors (with items in parentheses) were Watching
254 (“Watching others paint,” “Watching others draw,” “Watching others open a package,” and
255 “Watching others cook”), Touching (“Watching someone touch another person’s hair,”
256 “Watching someone touch their own hair,” “Watching others apply makeup and/or nail polish to
257 themselves,” and “Watching others apply makeup and/or nail polish to another person”),
258 Repetitive Sounds (“Tapping sounds” and “Scratching sounds”), Simulations (“Dentist
259 simulation” and “Haircut simulation”), and Mouth Sounds (“Chewing sounds” and
260 “Whispering”), respectively (Fredborg et al., 2017)."
Consider reducing this to a Table?
* Where were Control individuals recruited?
* "112 The current study received ethical approval from the Department of Psychology’s Human
113 Research Ethics Committee (HREB)."
Is this a typo?
* Explicitly state (a) this is an exploratory study, and require ongoing verification (b) it is speculative to conduct a power analysis with entirely novel questions, so one was not conducted.
* The correlation between Tcur and MAAS is reported for the whole sample, however, it appears from the subsamples that the relationship in ASMR participants (r=0.13) is substantially lower than for the regular sample (r=0.27).
* Is the Embodied Emotion scale absent? It appears in the study description, but neither the data set nor the results.
* Qualtrix returns forms which only allow continuation between screens until answers are complete. However, the raw data is missing from an estimated 40 to 60 cells. Was this lost before or after collection? Include an explicit statement of adjusted n's for each calculation.
* On Table 1, what does ASMR (M) denote?
* The first participant in the questionnaire in the ASMR group does not appear to show any symptoms of ASMR in response to any trigger. Was this a test line left in by accident?
* Also in this data, the averages in column BE do not match the columns AK through AX. Is this because some of the items were redacted? The items are reported as 14, however they are numbered to 16, and several "optional" items were apparently measured but not included. Please clarify.
* I cannot reconcile the "STIM" values in the spreadsheets being null for participants when all the other data is given. This may be my misunderstanding.
All text and materials provided via this peer-review history page are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.