Poor mental health amongst students has made finding ways to support wellbeing an important issue for Universities.
This proposal investigates the potential of novel wellness techniques, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) and Mindfulness Meditation (MM) for improving student health, resilience and academic performance.
ASMR is a complex emotional response involving tingling sensations in the scalp accompanied by feelings of relaxation and euphoria. It is triggered by audio, visual, and tactile stimuli including whispering, soft-speaking and tapping. ASMR has anecdotal benefits such as reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia and recent research suggests it has reliable effects on mood and physiology.
Similar health benefits have been reported for MM but these positive outcomes typically require training, which is not necessary for ASMR. ASMR may have the potential to become a low-cost digital wellness tool with broad reach, from enhancing the student experience to helping lonely elderly. In addition to huge online communities, industry increasingly uses ASMR for advertising.
Despite its potential and growing popularity, there is hardly any rigorous scientific research on ASMR’s ostensibly beneficial claims (or potential harms).
We will test ASMR and MM effects on student physical and mental health (including stress and sleep), resilience and academic performance, using qualitative and quantitative measures: diary entries, questionnaires, academic performance, stress response (e.g., solving problems under time constraints) and associated psychophysiology (e.g., heart rate, brain imaging (EEG)) at different times throughout their studies.
To apply for this position the student will need to have either a BSc in Psychology or Cognitive Neuroscience, an MSc in Psychology, Research Methods or Cognitive Neuroscience, or equivalent degree in a disciple related to Health Science or Physiology.
How to apply
You can apply for this postgraduate research opportunity online (https://www1.essex.ac.uk/pgapply/login.aspx
Please include your CV, covering letter, personal statement, and transcripts of UG and Masters degrees in your application.
The University has moved to requiring only one reference for PhD applications and these can be received after a conditional offer has been made so the absence of these will not hold up the recruitment process.
Find out more about this studentship and information on how to apply on our website (https://www.essex.ac.uk/postgraduate-research-degrees/opportunities/ASMR-and-Mindfulness-Meditation-for-student-wellness