ASMR content... Can the “whisperers” promote climate awareness?

Writer: Salma Arafa - Translator: Amira Gawdat
الثلاثاء 11 يونية 2024 | 08:12 مساءً

Have you come across videos online where presenters speak in voices so soft that it sounds like a whisper? These clips are part of ASMR content, the demand for viewing of which has increased in recent years, until it has reached millions of people in the Arab world, but it has become presented as one of the tools that can be used to raise awareness of the dangers of the issue of climate change.

The term "ASMR" refers to the interaction of autonomous sensory channels with the brain's response to a group of different stimuli, such as whispering, slow hand movements, and the sounds of clicking on things. It aims to make the recipient feel relaxed, reduce the level of stress, and combat insomnia.

مصدر الصورة: AndreyPopov / Getty ImagesCredit: AndreyPopov / Getty Images

One of the most prominent types of these clips is the use of nature scenes, green spaces, and the sounds of birds and animals, most of which you may not see in your daily life.

ASMR and climate change

All of this atmosphere that calls for relaxation seems completely contradictory to talking about the effects of climate change and the necessity of confronting it, but a different experiment succeeded in proving the opposite.

The study conducted by Curtin University in Australia revealed the possibility of using ASMR videos as an effective means of promoting environmentally friendly behaviors among younger youth.

The study sample included a number of high school students who belong to Generation Z, which is the generation born between 1997 and 2012. They were shown a clip of a sixteen-year-old girl, who does not show her full face, and speaks in a low voice, along with some other sound effects, about positive daily practices that we can do to confront climate change.

65% of the students who watched the clip said that this method is effective in terms of positive communication about climate change, and the opinions of some of them who expressed their dissatisfaction with information related to the phenomenon that threatens the Earth changed before watching the clip.

Diana Bugeva, in statements reported by “”, points to the dark messages that always haunt young people, including devastating images of natural disasters, such as forest fires, which raised a question about the most optimistic way to talk about the issue.

ASMR and openness

Another link that reinforces the idea of ​​including environmental messages in ASMR content is the personality traits of those who watch it, which is also linked to interest in climate action.

The study conducted by Kawthar Idris, a researcher at Ain Shams University in Egypt, and published by the scientific journal of educational and qualitative studies and research, on the relationship between adolescents’ personal traits and ASMR content, revealed that adolescents who are most open to different experiences are the ones who watch these clips the most.

This trait is also linked to a high level of environmental and climate awareness. One study published by the journal "PLOS One" reported that openness is linked to the ability to think flexibly, which is necessary to imagine the effects of the climate change crisis, as well as its impact on choosing to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors.

ASMR and stress

However, studies measuring the effect of exposure to ASMR clips are still relatively limited. While scientists talk about its effect in reducing anxiety levels, there is no research that speaks directly about the possibility of using it to combat climate anxiety specifically, but one of the content creators published a clip in English saying that his goal is to reduce this type of stress.

In a small study published by the US National Library of Medicine, researchers monitored participants' brain activity while they watched this type of clip, and observed activity in areas that control emotions. The researchers suggested that these clips contribute to the secretion of some hormones that cause happiness and relaxation, such as dopamine and oxytocin.

However, a later study conducted by the British University of Northumbria revealed that this relaxation effect does not occur with all those exposed to this type of content, but rather those who tend to have anxious and neurotic traits are the ones who benefit most from it.