Unraveling the highly sensitive mind: the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying sensory processing sensitivity
The concept of high sensitivity has attracted increasing public interest as many people can relate to what it means to have a highly arousable and reflective nervous system. At present, the theoretical construct of high sensitivity is still subject to debate. A common feature of this concept is the ability to notice subtle details in the environment and/or to rapidly identify subtle differences in people’s mood. Research on the underlying mechanisms that might be responsible for such a heightened sensitivity, however, is scarce. In this research project, we aim to expand the knowledge on high sensitivity by investigating whether highly sensitive persons process information differently, whether this different processing can be explained by a higher awareness of low-intensity stimulation and/or by an enhanced elaboration of already attended stimuli, and whether a different processing occurs for all kinds of stimuli or only emotional ones. The current project will provide us a deeper insight into the functionality of high sensitivity and gives us invaluable guidelines about how highly sensitive individuals can organize their lives to flourish in this challenging world.
Prof. Dr. Natacha Deroost
Prof. Dr. Kris Baetens