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Frequently Asked Questions

None of the leading theories propose that women are more sensitive than men. But in studies that measure sensitivity with questionnaires, women often tend to report higher sensitivity.

Similar tendencies have been observed in studies investigating sensitivity in children, even when sensitivity was rated by psychologists rather than reported by the children themselves. Interestingly, these gender differences are not found in genetic studies.

According to a large twin study that examined the extent to which differences in sensitivity are determined by genetic and environmental influences, males and females did not differ from each other. The absence of genetic gender differences suggests that the heightened sensitivity found in women and girls may reflect social and cultural influences rather than biological ones.

For example, in many societies sensitivity is considered more of a feminine trait and therefore more likely to be accepted and expressed by women and girls.

Although girls often report higher sensitivity in questionnaires, several studies find that it is actually the sensitive boys whose behaviour is more influenced by the quality of their environment.

This suggests that females are not necessarily more sensitive than males, but that women and girls are simply more likely, and men and boys less likely, to report sensitivity behaviours. More research is needed to better understand gender differences in sensitivity, including the role of socialisation.