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Dandelions, tulips and orchids: evidence for the existence of low-sensitive, medium-sensitive and high-sensitive individuals

Lionetti, F., Aron, A., Aron, E. N., Burns, G. L., Jagiellowicz, J., & Pluess, M. (2018 ), Translational psychiatry, 8(1), 24. doi: 10.1038/s41398-017-0090-6

This empirical paper provides evidence for the bi-factor structure of the 27-item HSP scale and tests for the existence of sensitivity groups in a series of adult samples.

Contrary to the widely held notion that 20% of the population fall into a highly sensitive group while the remaining 80% are characterised by lower sensitivity, the study reports the existence of three sensitivity groups.

About 30% of people tend to be “Orchids” with high sensitivity, and another 30% make up the “Dandelions” with low sensitivity, whilst about 40% with medium sensitivity fall between the other two groups and are described as “Tulips”.

According to further investigation of these groups, Orchids have lower extraversion and higher neuroticism compared to Dandelions whereas Tulips lay between the Orchids and Dandelions.