In our study, we investigated whether gifted individuals exhibit higher scores on Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). Findings indicate that gifted individuals have lower scores on negative aspects of sensitivity, such as Emotional and Physiological Reactivity, while scoring higher on positive aspects, such as Aesthetic Sensitivity. These differences are partially explained by lower Neuroticism and higher Openness among gifted respondents.
The 1st international meeting on research related to environmental sensitivity took place at the University of Chieti Pescara, Italy, on the 18th of May 2023. In this blog we summarise the meeting and highlight some key contributions. More details on talks and discussed topics are provided in the booklet of abstract, available as PDF at the bottom of this page.
In our study, we interviewed highly sensitive adults regarding how they perceive and experience their sensitivity. We identified six themes that were mentioned by nearly all participants as key characteristics of being highly sensitive. However, there were also important differences in how people experience their sensitivity.
In Western cultures, lay perceptions and norms around wellbeing tend to emphasise being socially outgoing and high-arousal positive emotions, but not all people experience wellbeing in this way. In our study, we set out to explore what highly sensitive people do to maintain their wellbeing.
Research has shown that sensitivity is related to common personality traits, such as Neuroticism and Openness to Experiences.
The association with Neuroticism reflects the tendency of sensitive people to experience stress more easily.
In contrast, Openness to Experiences seems to capture sensitive people’s aesthetic sensitivity and their deep processing of information.
Our study investigated the heritability of sensitivity.
Results showed that 47 percent of the differences in sensitivity between individuals are genetically determined, whereas the remaining 53 percent are accounted for by environmental factors.
Should we understand sensitivity as a continuous dimension that ranges from low to high or as a category, with some people being highly sensitive and others not?