For my mini-series of the month April, I wanted to do something a little bit different and a little bit…incohesive. I have a list of psychology-related questions in my phone notes, and for the last few months, I’ve just been slowly adding to it with every new thought that comes to mind. And so, for this month’s series, I am going to be tackling four of those questions!
So I guess this is “Psychology Wednesday”?
The first subject I’ve been really interested in lately is viral kinetic sand/slime compilation videos. They definitely carry ASMR-like qualities, in regards to sound, but these videos also have relaxing visuals. Especially for kinetic sand videos, the visuals are what make them so addicting and mesmerizing to watch. But why are they so mesmerizing? Why do we experience so much satisfaction watching someone slide a knife through a pile of sand? Goddamn, I feel like Vsauce right now.
First of all, if you’re unfamiliar with what kinetic sand is, I’ll give you the general rundown. “Kinetic sand” is a special type of sand that contains silicone oil, making it extremely moldable and more compact than regular sand. Its properties are rather hard to explain if you’ve never actually seen it, so if you have no clue what I’m talking about, I recommend popping over to YouTube to watch some compilation videos.
Without even doing any further research, I can say that my absolute favorite thing about these videos is the precision. We, as humans, like “satisfying things”- alignment, perfection, and smoothness. Take the golden face ratio, for example; scientifically, a perfectly symmetrical face is considered to be the most beautiful and appealing to us.
Surprisingly I actually can’t find a lot of research about this, so I’m going to carry on with doing a lot of inferring. I also have the Wikipedia page for “relaxation” open on another tab, so let’s see what we can gather from that. According to the official definition, relaxation is “the emotional state of a living being, of low tension, in which there is an absence of arousal that comes from sources such as anger, anxiety, or fear”. For me in particular, watching satisfying videos of a knife crisply slicing through kinetic sand and cutting it really hits me in my relaxation zone. Could this be because I associate anger and anxiety with fragmented, messy disorganization? Probably. For many of us, watching something relaxing and still visibly stimulating creates the opposite effect on our brains- everything is clean, organized, and agreeable with our subconscious. When things work out exactly the way we want it to, it obviously creates some level of satisfaction in our minds, reminding us in a visual way that everything is going to be okay.
Maybe we’ll never know why these types of ASMR videos bring so much peace and relaxation, but nonetheless, we can’t deny the fact that it has created a positive impact on the world. As someone who loves ASMR/relaxation videos myself, I’ve noticed improvements to my mental health and sleep schedule since discovering this community, and I hope you can too!
Coming up next: Spring 2019 Lookbook