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Unraveling the sensitive brain: a review on Sensory Processing Sensitivity and its underlying mechanisms

Klok, Christina (2023) Unraveling the sensitive brain: a review on Sensory Processing Sensitivity and its underlying mechanisms. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.


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Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) is an innate character temperament that has been described as an environmental sensitivity theory and is characterized by the abbreviation DOES: Depth of processing, ease of Overstimulation, Emotional reactivity and Sensitivity to stimuli. Despite the fact that neurobiological research on SPS is still in its infancy, results are supporting that Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) show higher levels of alertness, awareness, attention to detail and emotional reactivity. Results on depth of processing are more tentative, but evidence of brain activation in areas involved in higher order cognitive processing has been found in association with high SPS scores. The functioning of an HSP is strongly influenced by their environment. A positive environment (such as high quality of parenting) can benefit an HSP by enhancing their higher order cognitive processing, reflective thinking, calm and awareness, while a negative environment can diminish these aspects and increase the chances of an HSP developing anxiety or depression. Since SPS has behavioral comparisons to anxiety and depression, research on the cause of SPS is often sought in the same mechanisms that are known for anxiety. Despite there not being much results yet, suggestions have been made on the involvement of a more sensitive central nervous system, the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR, levels of the GABA neurotransmitter and the HPA-axis on the underlying mechanisms of SPS

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Supervisor name: Buwalda, B.
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 30 May 2023 08:37
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2023 07:34

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