Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

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Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Post by skfarblums on June 24th 2014, 12:56 am

Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes


June 23, 2014


Stony Brook University


Do you jump to help the less fortunate or cry during sad movie scenes? If yes, you may be among the 20 percent of our population that is genetically pre-disposed to empathy, according to a study. The results provide further evidence that highly sensitive people are generally highly tuned into their environment, and provide evidence that especially high levels of awareness and emotional responsiveness are fundamental features of humans characterized as HSPs.






This is an overall fMRI composite comparison of the brains of highly sensitive people (HSP) compared to non-HSPs. The areas in color represent some of the regions of the brain where greater activation occurs in HSPs compared to non-HSPs. The brain region highly associated with empathy and noticing emotion (Anterior Insula) shows significantly greater activation in HSPs than non-HSPs when viewing a photo of their partner smiling.
Credit: Art Aron


Do you jump to help the less fortunate, cry during sad movie scenes, or tweet and post the latest topics and photos that excite or move you? If yes, you may be among the 20 percent of our population that is genetically pre-disposed to empathy, according to Stony Brook University psychologists Arthur and Elaine Aron. In a new study published in Brain and Behavior, Drs. Aron and colleagues at the University of California, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Monmouth University found that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of brains provide physical evidence that the "highly sensitive" brain responds powerfully to emotional images.

Previous research suggests that sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is an innate trait associated with greater sensitivity, or responsiveness, to environmental and social stimuli. According to Dr. Arthur Aron, the trait is becoming increasingly associated with identifiable behaviors, genes, physiological reactions, and patterns of brain activation. Highly sensitive people (HSP), those high in SPS, encompass roughly 20 percent of the population. Elaine Aron, PhD, originated the HSP concept. Humans characterized as HSPs tend to show heightened awareness to subtle stimuli, process information more thoroughly, and be more reactive to both positive and negative stimuli. In contrast, the majority of people have comparatively low SPS and pay less attention to subtle stimuli, approach situations more quickly and are not as emotionally reactive.
In "The Highly Sensitive Brain: An fMRI study of Sensory Processing Sensitivity and Response to Others' Emotions," Drs. Aron and colleagues used fMRI brain scans to compare HSPs with low SPS individuals. The analysis is the first with fMRI to demonstrate how HSPs' brain activity processes others' emotions.
The brains of 18 married individuals (some with high and some with low SPS) were scanned as they viewed photos of either smiling faces, or sad faces. One set of photos included the faces of strangers, and the other set included photos of their husbands or wives.
"We found that areas of the brain involved with awareness and emotion, particularly those areas connected with empathetic feelings, in the highly sensitive people showed substantially greater blood flow to relevant brain areas than was seen in individuals with low sensitivity during the twelve second period when they viewed the photos," said Dr. Aron, a Research Professor in Psychology at Stony Brook. "This is physical evidence within the brain that highly sensitive individuals respond especially strongly to social situations that trigger emotions, in this case of faces being happy or sad."


The brain activity was even higher when HSPs viewed the expressions of their spouses. The highest activation occurred when viewing images of their partner as happy. Most of the participants were scanned again one year later, and the same results occurred.
Areas of the brain indicating the greatest activity -- as shown by blood flow -- include sections known as the "mirror neuron system," an area strongly associated with empathetic response and brain areas associated with awareness, processing sensory information and action planning.
Dr. Aron believes the results provide further evidence that HSPs are generally highly tuned into their environment. He said the new findings via the fMRI provide evidence that especially high levels of awareness and emotional responsiveness are fundamental features of humans characterized as HSPs.



Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bianca P. Acevedo, Elaine N. Aron, Arthur Aron, Matthew-Donald Sangster, Nancy Collins, Lucy L. Brown. The highly sensitive brain: an fMRI study of sensory processing sensitivity and response to others' emotionsBrain and Behavior, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/brb3.24
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Re: Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Post by laura ann on June 24th 2014, 10:18 am

Carl Jung did  a lot of studies on sensitives....there is

 a test you can take do decipher which type of HSP you are and the traits, jobs etc  would best suit a person.

http://personalitypage.com/html/info.html

http://www.123test.com/jung-personality-test/

I normally test out as ISFJ or at times ISTJ


Last edited by laura ann on June 25th 2014, 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Post by skfarblums on June 24th 2014, 10:51 am

I came out as INFJ.I need to spend more time on reading up on this.
I find this very interesting.
Thanks for the sites.
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Re: Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Post by skfarblums on June 25th 2014, 1:53 am

How accurate a description of you is the ISFJ ?
My INFJ is a very good description of me.
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Re: Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Post by laura ann on June 25th 2014, 12:13 pm

actually I am not normal ..I normally do not test the same  each time.
I  test one of two things either IsFJ which describes me very well
but I also test out ISTJ which again also describes me very well.

they say you cannot be two types but  I am an exception as both fit me very well...


I have taken those test multiple multiple times....and it is never the same. it is either of the two always.
I believe it depends on if I am in masculine energy mode or feminine energy mode which reveals  during test.

again they say it is impossible your only one...

so I gave up trying to be just one for testers when I am a multiple balanced male female energy.

in a sense it would be probably   a form of bi-polar


but I am  happy with self and that is all that matters.
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Re: Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes

Post by skfarblums on June 25th 2014, 12:22 pm

Very interesting Laura.You seem to be a twain.
Two distinct personalities yet similar in nature.
What do you think?
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