The term ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ was coined by Dr Elaine N. Aron, psychologist and HSP herself, in her book The Highly Sensitive Person to describe people with the trait of high sensitivity. It is a genetic trait that is found in 15-20% of the population, and is as normal and natural as eye colour. It is not a disorder, condition or illness.
It is a neurological trait that enables the brain to notice more subtleties in the information it processes. Research shows it is present in all species from insects to animals. The individuals possessing the trait tend to detect danger, whether it’s a predator or poison, before others in a group, therefore the trait can be seen as evolutionary necessity to aid the survival of the species.
The discovery of this trait in humans is not new though the trait has been mislabelled in the past as shyness or introversion. In fact 30% of HSPs are actually extroverts.
Dr Aron is a pioneer in work with people with high sensitivity and in promoting HSP awareness through support networks and workshops in her home country of the USA and abroad. She has written three books and regularly writes for her newsletter for HSPs, Comfort Zone available through her website – see Resources for more information on books and websites.
Author of "The Highly Sensitive Person", Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., summarizes the trait of high sensitivity.