Sensory Processing Sensitivity (HSP) Research

Here’s a great video of a lecture that I just added to my YouTube HSP playlist.

HSP Marie-Lise Schläppy is interested in using sensitivity as a tool to help in the early identification of gifted children. That is, assuming there is a connection between giftedness and sensitivity, which is primarily addressed at the very end of the video, and not conclusively. Most of the lecture is devoted to tracing the evolution of research on sensitivity, both before and since Elaine Aron’s work, and it is fascinating. I found her description of Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration particularly intriguing. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, right? But it sure describes my HSP journey to a T. Many thanks to Schläppy for synopsizing psychological research in non-academic terms.

The video is titled Part I. Part I includes the entire lecture. Part II, which is 45 minutes long, is the Q&A that follows. It is not always easy to understand the questions, so I found it less interesting, but here’s the link if you want to check it out.

HSP Videos

Here are a few of my favorite HSP-related videos for your viewing enjoyment, or to share with people in your life who may not be ready for the whole movie yet.

Signs You Might be a Highly Sensitive Person

Signs You Might Be Highly Sensitive video- Ane Axford
Ane Axford & friends act out traits of HSPs. This list has some things I hadn’t heard elsewhere – it was the first place I heard that HSPs are often perceived as flirting when they’re not, which explained a lot. I think my favorite is #7. Or maybe it’s #9. Or is it #8?

I most enjoy this video for the list (from 1:50 to 6:00), which is bookended by text that won’t be news to anyone who already identifies as HSP. However, the opening and closing verbiage and humor of this video makes it a good one to gently introduce someone to the sensitive trait. Continue reading

Take a Pebble

A stone hits the surface of a pond and sends out a circle of ripplesSensitive: The Untold Story is making waves. Gentle waves, in keeping with our subtle sensibilities, but discernible (to us, at least) nonetheless. How can I tell? Articles about sensory processing sensitivity are not only becoming more frequent, they are becoming more accurate.

Here’s one from Huff Post. The article is just a brief summary – the real content is in the video, which is a nice blend of first-hand account from an HSP, the scientific perspective, and then there’s the co-producer of the film, who isn’t identified as such, but she’s wearing the movie t-shirt.

Perhaps the distaste for being watched is more a trait of introverts than HSPs – I can’t really tell, being both. But other than that, there is not much to quibble at in the Huff Post video, which is rare and refreshing.

Cover of Kelly O'Laughlin's book, A highly Sensitive Person's LifeI’m not sure I’ve heard of Kelly O’Laughlin – the HSP in the video – before. Her memoir, A Highly Sensitive Person’s Life, came out earlier this year, and she’s raking in the positive reviews on Amazon. One reviewer noted that the book content is mostly from her blog,

I love that her most recent post is a self-described rant about a recent article on HSPS that also irritated the heck out of me. I never quite feel like I ought to be ranting, not that that ever stopped me. Thank you, Kelly, for modeling that it is OK for HSPs to rant, and feel good about it :)

BTW, Diana Hereld, the researcher featured in the video, is a grad student in music psychology. Check out her research page (scroll down for papers). HSP, right?

A drawing of a T-shirt with the words Sensitive, The T-shirt on the frontBefore I forget, I received an updated link to stream ($4.99) or buy ($9.99) Sensitive: The Movie. I just want to say again how much I appreciate that it is affordable.

If figuring out how to make a living is not your life issue, as it so inexorably is mine – first of all, take a moment to be seriously grateful about that! Then, ripple on over to the Sensitive movie merchandise page, and pick up a hat, mug, t-shirt or candle to support the Foundation for the Study of Highly Sensitive Persons in continued research and education.

The title of this post is also the title of an Emerson, Lake and Palmer song, which you can hear here. Kick back and take a meditative journey through the golden age of folk-rock. The video of which it is the soundtrack, though entirely unrelated, is an interesting journey too.

Sensitive Movie Released

A screenshot from the website and trailer of Sensitive - The Untold Story showing two people standing together in a natural settings watching a sunsetSensitive – The Untold Story is now available on demand at the very affordable rate of $4.99 for 3 days of unlimited viewing, or for purchase as a digital download ($9.99). Here’s the link.

DVDs (with subtitles for several as-yet-unspecified languages) should be available before the holidays.

Here is an in-depth review of the film on HuffPost by Sezin Koehler, whose reactions were so similar to my own that I probably don’t need to write one. Like her, I felt some discomfort with random images of children of color in developing nations interposed among interviews with predominantly white HSPs and researchers from the U.S. and Europe, and with a somewhat bizarre enactment of a disagreement between a couple on how to respond to their son’s sensitivity.

It should perhaps be noted that the whole project was initiated by Elaine Aron’s African-American neighbor, Will Harper, who read one of her books and realized he was an HSP.

In any event, as Ms. Koehler says, while the film’s flaws must be acknowledged, we can choose to focus on the interesting and instructive aspects of the film, which are many. It’s definitely worth seeing, whether you are an HSP or not. If we make up 20% of the population, you probably know someone who is.