Skip to content

Individual Differences in Environmental Sensitivity

Pluess, M. (2015), Child Development Perspectives, 9(3), 138-143. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12120

This theoretical paper describes the integration of all leading sensitivity theories into a single framework.

The resulting concept of Environmental Sensitivity represents an overarching meta-framework for individual differences in sensitivity to environmental influences that integrates the three leading theories on sensitivity (i.e., Sensory Processing Sensitivity, Differential Susceptibility, and Biological Sensitivity to Context) as well as the related frameworks of Vantage Sensitivity and Diathesis-Stress.

According to the concept of Environmental Sensitivity, people differ in their sensitivity due to individual differences in their ability to perceive and process information about the environment.

Furthermore, differences in Environmental Sensitivity are proposed to be associated with specific features of the central nervous system and influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.