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Highly sensitive person

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A highly sensitive person (HSP) is very easily affected by things. They are said to have a 'high sensitivity' (or innate sensitiveness as Carl Gustav Jung originally called it).

According to some researchers, highly sensitive people are about one fifth of the population. They process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly because their nervous systems are biologically different.[1] This is a specific trait with key effects that have often been confused with shyness, inhibitedness, fearfulness, introversion, as well as other effects.[2] The existence of innate sensitivity was shown using a test. The term is mainly used to describe humans, but may also describe animals.


  1. Ketay, S., Hedden, T., Aron, A., Aron, E., Markus, H., & Gabrieli, G. (2007, January). The personality/temperament trait of high sensitivity: fMRI evidence for independence of cultural context in attentional processing. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Memphis, TN. Summary by Aron (2006): "A functional study comparing brain activation in Asians recently arrived in the United States to European-Americans found that in the nonsensitive, different areas were activated according to culture during a difficult discrimination task known to be affected by culture, but culture had no impact on the activated areas for highly sensitive subjects, as if they were able to view the stimuli without cultural influence."
  2. Brodt, S., Zimbardo, P. "Modifying Shyness-Related Social Behavior Through Symptom Misattribution" Journal of Personality and Society Psychology 41 (1981): 437-49.

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