The publications below provide insight into current scientific knowledge regarding HSP. Scientifically, HSP is still in its infancy. There are overview publications (review) that deal with the introduction of HSP, prevalence and description of HSP characteristics. HSP is seen as an example of sensitivity to the environment, an evolutionary concept introduced to humans after observing individual differences in sensitivity and reactivity to the environment in about 100 different animal species. Because a minority of the individuals exhibit HSP, there is also the assumption that HSP brings an advantage; HSP-ers are better able to absorb information from the environment and respond to it in comparison with individuals who are less sensitive. HSP is seen as a trait that helps with survival, because it brings a great adaptability to the environment. In addition, special attention has been paid in science to the validation of the HSP questionnaire, in adults and children. The questionnaire has been validated by several research groups, but researchers are of the opinion that some features of HSP are not yet optimally represented in the questionnaire, such as openness / sensitivity to positive aspects from the environment and deep information processing. In addition, questionnaires are generally somewhat subjective. That is why we are working on more objective methods for taking HSP. Attention is also paid to the prevalence of HSP. It is assumed that about 20% of the population is HSP, and that the 20% concerns a separate group of the other individuals, but there are doubts as to whether this is correct. It is more likely that sensitivity to the environment is a continuum, and that the extremes on one side of the continuum represent the HPS-ers. It is also possible that the share of HPS-ers in the population changes with age, because children are usually more open to the environment than adults. And there are differences in prevalence in different cultures, assuming the same questionnaire. For example, Italians are usually more temperamental than Dutch and British. Furthermore, research has been conducted into the relationship between HSP and other personality factors. HSP strongly correlates with introversion, neuroticism, and openness, as well as behavior inhibition and behavior activation. Nevertheless, the studies show that HSP is an independent independent personality trait. Because HSP-ers are vulnerable to overstimulation, they also have an increased risk of psychopathologies, such as stress-related disorders, in addition to the benefits of HSP. There may also be a relationship between HSP and autism, a developmental disorder that is accompanied by a change in stimulus processing. How HPS relates to stimulating softening in autism is still unclear. In addition, some MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies have been performed which provide insight into the functioning of the highly sensitive brain. This knowledge is scientifically still very early, because HSP has not yet broken through in neuroscience. The studies show that in people with HSP, brain areas involved in sensory, emotional and cognitive informational traffic react more strongly to stimuli from the environment. This may be related to hyperexcitation of neurons in these areas, because inhibition of excitatory nerve cells (neurons) is reduced. The inhibition may function as information 'filter', which is less active in individuals with HSP and which makes information stronger. Finally, research shows that HSP is genetically determined for about 50%. The other 50% is determined by environmental factors. At this moment research is being done on the genetic basis of HSP. Serotonergic and dopaminergic genes appear to contribute to HSP. These are also the genes that behave according to the differential susceptibility model for gene x environment interactions. This model says that these genes increase the sensitivity to the environment in a 'for-better-and-for-worse' way. This is also characteristic of HSP.
A group of researchers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and America is currently writing a research agenda for HSP.
Aron, E., Aron, A., & Jagiellowicz, J. (2012). Sensory Processing Sensitivity: A Review in the Light of the Evolution of Biological Responsivity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16(3), 262-282. doi: 10.1177/1088868311434213
Aron, E. N. (1996). The highly sensitive person: How to thrive when the world overwhelms you (Rev ed.). New York: Broadway Books.
Aron, E. N. (2002). The highly sensitive child: helping our children thrive when the world overwhelms them. New York: Broadway Books.
Pluess, M. (2015). Individual differences in Environmental Sensitivity. Child Development Perspectives, 9(3), 138-143. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12120.
Publications about the HSP questionnaire and relationship between HSP and other personality factors
Aron, E., & Aron, A. (1997). Sensory-processing sensitivity and its relation to introversion and emotionality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(2), 345-368. doi: 10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1995
Aron, E., Aron, A., & Davies, K. M. (2005). Adult shyness: The interaction of temperamental sensitivity and an adverse childhood environment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(2), 181-197. doi: 10.1177/0146167204271419.
Konrad, S., & Herzberg, P. Y. (2017). Psychometric Properties and Validation of a German High Sensitive Person Scale (HSPS-G). European Journal of Psychological Assessment.
Lionetti, F., Aron, A., Aron, E. N., Burns, L. G., Jagiellowicz, J., & Pluess, M. (in press). Dandelions, Tulips and Orchids: Evidence for the Existence of Low, Medium, and High Sensitive Individuals in the General Population.
Lionetti, F., Aron, E. N., Aron, A., Klein, D. N., & Pluess, M. (2017). Evaluating Environmental Sensitivity in Preschoolers: The Highly Sensitive Child Rating System. Paper presented at the 6th International Meeting of the Scientific Research Network "A multiple levels of analysis approach to typical and atypical development", KU Leuven University.
Pluess, M., Assary, E., Lionetti, F., Lester, K., Krapohl, E., Aron, E., & Aron, A. (2017). Environmental Sensitivity in Children: Development of the Highly Sensitive Child Scale and Identification of Sensitivity Groups. Developmental Psychology.
Rizzo-Sierra, C. V., Leon-S, M. E., & Leon-Sarmiento, F. E. (2012). Higher sensory processing sensitivity, introversion and ectomorphism: New biomarkers for human creativity in developing rural areas. Journal of neurosciences in rural practice, 3(2), 159.
Smolewska, K. A., McCabe, S. B., & Woody, E. Z. (2006). A psychometric evaluation of the Highly Sensitive Person Scale: The components of sensory-processing sensitivity and their relation to the BIS/BAS and "Big Five". Personality and Individual Differences, 40(6), 1269-1279. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.09.022
Publications about HSP in relation to experiences in childhood
Booth, C., Standage, H., & Fox, E. (2015). Sensory-processing sensitivity moderates the association between childhood experiences and adult life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 24-29.
Boterberg, S., & Warreyn, P. (2016). Making sense of it all: The impact of sensory processing sensitivity on daily functioning of children. Personality and Individual Differences, 92, 80-86. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.022
Slagt, M., Dubas, J. S., van Aken, M. A., Ellis, B. J., & Dekovic, M. (2017). Sensory Processing Sensitivity as a Marker of Differential Susceptibility to Parenting. Developmental Psychology, Online first publication. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev00004
Sobocko, K., & Zelenski, J. M. (2015). Trait sensory-processing sensitivity and subjective well-being: Distinctive associations for different aspects of sensitivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 44-49.
Publications on the functioning of the brain in relation to HSP
Acevedo, B., Jagiellowicz, J., Aron, E., Aron, A., & Marhenke, R. (2017). Sensory processing sensitivity and childhood quality’s effects on neural responses to emotional stimuli. Neuropsychiatry, 14(5).
Acevedo, B. P., Aron, E. N., Aron, A., Sangster, M. D., Collins, N., & Brown, L. (2014). The highly sensitive brain: an fMRI study of sensory processing sensitivity and response to others' emotions. Brain and Behavior, 4(4), 580 - 594.
Aron, A., Ketay, S., Hdden, T., Aron, N. E., Markus, H. R., & Gabrieli, J. (2010). Temperament trait of sensory processing sensitivity moderates cultural differences in neural response. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5(2-3), 219 - 226.
Chen, C., Xiu, D., Chen, C., Moyzis, R., Xi,a M., He, Y., Xue, G., Li, J., H,e Q., Lei, X., Wang, Y., Liu, B., Chen, W., Zhu, B., Dong, Q.. Regional Homogeneity of Resting-State Brain Activity Suppresses the Effect of Dopamine-Related Genes on Sensory Processing Sensitivity. PLoS One. 2015;10(8):e0133143
Jagiellowicz, J., Xu, X., Aron, A., Aron, E., Cao, G., Feng, T., & Weng, X. (2012). The trait of sensory processing sensitivity and neural responses to changes in visual scenes. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 6(1), 38-47. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsq001.
Miceli, S., Nadif Kasri, N., Joosten, J., Huang, C., Kepser, L., Proville, R., Selten, M.M., van Eijs, F., Azarfar, A., Homberg, J.R., Celikel, T., Schubert, D.. Reduced Inhibition within Layer IV of Sert Knockout Rat Barrel Cortex is Associated with Faster Sensory Integration. Cereb Cortex. 2017;27(2):933-949.
Publications on the (possible) genetic basis of HSP
Assary, E., Zavos, H. M., Krapohl, E., & Pluess, M. (submitted). Heritability of Environmental Sensitivity and Genetic Overlap with the Big-Five Personality Traits.
Chen, C., Chen, C., Moyzis, R., Stern, H., Qinghua, H., Li, H., Dong, Q. (2011). Contributions of Dopamine-Related Genes and Environmental Factors to Highly Sensitive Personality: A Multi-Step Neuronal System-Level Approach. PloS one, 6(7).
Homberg, J. R., Schubert, D., Asan, E., & Aron, E. N. (2016). Sensory processing sensitivity and serotonin gene variance: Insights into mechanisms shaping environmental sensitivity. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 71, 472-483.
Licht, C. L., Mortensen, E. L., & Knudsen, G. M. (2011). Association between Sensory Processing Sensitivity and the 5-HTTLPR Short/Short Genotype. Biological Psychiatry, 69, 152S-153S (Supplement for Society of Biological Psychiatry Convention and Annual Meeting, abstract, 510).
Publications about HSP in relation to psychological and psychiatric symptoms
Ausderau, K., Sideris, J., Furlong, M., Little, L. M., Bulluck, J., & Baranek, G. T. (2014). National survey of sensory features in children with ASD: factor structure of the sensory experience questionnaire (3.0). J Autism Dev Disord, 44(4), 915-925. doi: 10.1007/s10803-013-1945-1
Bakker, K., & Moulding, R. (2012). Sensory processing sensitivity, dispositional mindfulness and negative psychological symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(3), 341-346.
Benham, G. (2006). The highly sensitive person: Stress and physical symptom reports. Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 1433-1440.
Brindle, K., Moulding, R., Bakker, K., & Nedeljkovic, M. (2015). Is the relationship between sensory-processing sensitivity and negative affect mediated by emotional regulation. Australian Journal of Psychology, 67, 214-221.
Jagiellowicz, J., Aron, A., & Aron, E. N. (2016). Relation between the temperament trait of sensory processing sensitivity and emotional reactivity. Social Behavior and Personality, 44(2), 185 - 200.
Liss, M., Mailloux, J., & Erchull, M. J. (2008). The relationships between sensory processing sensitivity, alexithymia, autism, depression, and anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(3), 255-259.
Liss, M., Timmel, L., Baxley, K., & Killingsworth, P. (2005). Senory processing sensitivity and its relation to parental bonding, anxiety, and depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 1429-1439.
Pluess, M., & Boniwell, I. (2015a). Sensory-Processing Sensitivity predicts treatment response to a school-based depression prevention program: Evidence of Vantage Sensitivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 82(0), 40-45.
HSP in dogs
Braem, M., Asher, L., Furrer, S., Lechner, I., Würbel, H., & Melotti, L. (2017). Development of the “Highly Sensitive Dog” questionnaire to evaluate the personality dimension “Sensory Processing Sensitivity” in dogs. PloS one, 12(5), e0177616.