High sensitivity


I am—happily—a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). HSPs experience high measures of sensory processing sensitivity. In academic terms: HSPs exhibit a significant extension of typical neural capacities.



The following characteristics are typical of HSPs.

  • High level of operation and performance
  • High measure of sensory processing sensitivity
  • Different neural activity to average, or norm
  • First identified formally in mid-1990s, by Drs. Elaine & Arthur Aron
  • Identified informally by psychologist Carl Jung
  • Represent 15-20% of the population
  • Do not exhibit a disorder: HS is a physiological trait—and a gift!


The following traits are typical of HSPs.

  • Conscientiousdetermined, committed, passionate, hardworking
  • Faithfulloyal, trustworthy, considerate, cooperative, collaborative
  • Caringcompassionate, thoughtful, sensitive, cautious, unselfish, gentle
  • Articulateaccurate, polite, precise, semantic, subtle, sophisticated
  • Intelligenteducated, informed, knowledgeable, resourceful, witty, wise
  • Imaginativevisionary, intuitive, spiritual, reflective, harmonious

HSPs are frequently:

  • Highly intelligent
  • Highly aware of subtleties in their environment
  • Good parents and spouses
  • Over-stimulated by excess demands and noise (of all kinds).


Dr Elaine Aron and other’s observe that HSPs are considerably under-valued and under-utilised in western cultural contexts. By contrast, they are highly-valued and appreciated in significant non-western cultures, such as China, for example. This disparity is particularly relevant in the case of male HSPs.


Advantages of highly sensitive people include their being:

  • Good advisors
  • Excellent at staying on task
  • A source of situational insights overlooked by non-HSPs
  • Excellent educators, consultants, mentors and spiritual directors
  • Highly responsive to others, stabilising cooperative relationships and trust.

Some of these traits are reflected in what people have said about me.

Understand more

Pause for thought: High sensitivity has been discovered in 100+ species!