High sensitivity is a congenital temperament that affects approximately 15% of the population. Let's say it's an innate feature that comes from the birth of the individual. It is pointed out, according to existing research, that there is a genetic component that makes high sensitivity a hereditary trait.
What is the meaning of PAS?
The acronym PAS is perhaps the best known form of high sensitivity, whose scientific name would be sensory processing sensitivity. PAS is known as highly sensitive or sensitive people. This term and initial research was first named by Dra. Elaine Aron through the translation of the initial term highly Sensitive Person.
Unfortunately we have found the case of people who are attributed the term PAS as their own, when in fact born from the natural Spanish translation of the concept described by the American psychologist in the years 90 of the last century.
How did you get high sensitivity in Spain?
In Spain we took 10 years until it came to our country the expression PAS. In this case it was in the year 2006 when it came through the book The Gift of sensibility. After this date, various media, bloggers and associations have helped greatly to spread the trait. Perhaps the documentary "The Sensibility to light" or the interview with our President Manuela Perez in "Saber Vivir" of LA1, have been the television appearances that more visibility have contributed to this temperament.
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Is it the same thing to be PAS to be sensitive?
The trait of high sensitivity goes beyond the concept that we all understand as sensitive. In fact, it can be said that although sensitivity is present in PAS, this is not the only feature. You can be sensitive and not be PAS, of course. It would be something like the most accused end of a sensitive person, but the concept is somewhat more complex.
What are the characteristics of high sensitivity?
The main characteristic of high sensitivity describes a nervous system that works in a particular way. It differs in this sense from other individuals who do not present it. That is, colloquially said, we can say that your nervous system is more sophisticated or more alert. The characteristics can be several although we can summarize them in: sensory sensitivity, empathy and emotional sensitivity, deep processing of information and finally a tendency to saturation that can be reflected in fatigue or stress.
Can you highlight any research carried out on sensory processing sensitivity?
There are important investigations that have been carried out in this field. Some of them in the field of biology and others that are in project, on their genetic component. But for us, perhaps the most we like to refer to is the one carried out by the doctor and neuroscientist Bianca Acevedo. In an interview with her we were able to know the study carried out with groups of PAS and non-PAS. This study can be seen by means of the functional magnetic resonance imaging technique, the different activation areas that occur in the same stimulus. In the case of PAS, there was a greater activity in the area of the brain related to the mirror neurons and also in the amygdala.
How can someone who is PAS know?
From the PAS España Association we have developed an initial orientation Test that can help them to identify themselves or not as highly sensitive people. However, as any other test is not a definitive or conclusive result at 100%. High Sensitivity Test
One of the most common reactions when a person finds out through our test that he is a very sensitive person is the surprise and the concern. Sometimes there are many questions that you want to solve in a short time. All this triggers a few moments and even days of restlessness. For all this, our first recommendation is to take everything from the calm. It is not a disease and there is nothing to cure. Therefore, in case of discomfort arising from the trait or want to contrast the test result, our recommendation is to go to a specialized psychologist.
Why is it important to go to a psychologist?
Every day there is more Internet content referred to this trait of personality. However not everything that appears in the media is contrasted. All this information is often misinformation that can lead to serious consequences. For example, a person with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or border line may think that your case is nothing more than being highly sensitive. And certainly this may be true, but of course it must be a qualified professional who will safely diagnose this case. We can all talk about how wonderful it is to be PAS, but to our consultations and our association come cases that are not. We're really concerned about both cases of mistaken diagnosis. People diagnosed with a disorder that may be simply PAS, people who believe they are PAS when they actually have a disorder, but there may also be a person or a child who is highly sensitive and also presents a disorder.
Doctor of Psychology, Master in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Clinical Hypnosis Specialist. Recognized by the International Biographical Center (Cambridge – UK) as one of the top one hundred health professionals in the world in 2010. He also teaches in various national and international universities
Scientific disseminator participating in congresses, conferences and seminars; collaborator in various papers, digital media and radio programs; author of the blog “Advanced Open Learning in Psychology and Neuroscience, and twenty books on diverse subjects.
Currently he conducts research in the field of Big Data applications in healthcare utilizing data from India, United States and Canada, among others, work which he complements with consultancy to technological startups geared towards psychology and personal wellbeing.