Aron and Aron (1997) introduced the personality construct of high sensitivity, characterized by a presumably physiological, overactive sensory-processing sensitivity. Their measure of high sensitivity, the Highly Sensitive Person Scale (HSPS), predicts negative life-outcomes. However, previous research questioned the unidimensional nature of the questionnaire, and proposed its division into two- or three-factor models, with a handful of items reflecting a distinct type of sensitivity. Two studies (N = 154 and N = 118) extended previous findings by showing that this distinct sensitivity subscale had the weakest correlations with the full HSP scale and its other subscales, and that it had a distinctive and more desirable pattern of associations with personality traits and well-being measures, compared to other sensitivities. Our findings suggest that not all sensory-processing sensitivities are associated with undesirable life-outcomes, and emphasize the value of developing sensitivity measures further.

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Keywords Aesthetic sensitivity, Highly Sensitive Person Scale, Orienting sensitivity/openness, Sensory-processing sensitivity, Well-being
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Journal Personality and Individual Differences
Sobocko, K. (Karin), & Zelenski, J. (2015). Trait sensory-processing sensitivity and subjective well-being: Distinctive associations for different aspects of sensitivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 44–49. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.03.045