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Sep 8, 2019

Sensory overload: Some people genetically wired to detest bright lights, big sounds

Posted by in categories: entertainment, genetics

The average North American life – which values gregarious personalities, extroverted social styles, clamorous entertainment, bright lights and big sound – is simply too much for many sensitive people.

“This world is not built for sensitive people. In fact, our world is designed perfectly for those who are detached,” wrote Nicole Hollingshead, a Canadian empowerment blogger, in response to a Quora question about the highly sensitive person (HSP) trait. Her statement illustrates the way that most HSPs feel when comparing themselves to their seemingly unfazed non-HSP peers.

The term highly sensitive person was coined in the 1990s by husband and wife psychologist team Elaine Aron and Arthur Aron. The HSP trait is synonymous with the term sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) and is thought to be genetically determined and present at birth. SPS exists in 15–20 percent of the human population, and has been observed in over 100 nonhuman species.

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