Sensory processing sensitivity and its association to autistic traits in general population.
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Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) constitutes a genetically based phenotypic trait involving heightened emotional responsivity and empathy, greater awareness of environmental subtleties, deeper cognitive processing, and ease of overstimulation. The first part of the present dissertation explores in depth the theoretical framework of SPS, the distinct constructs of sensitivity, and the evidence of SPS as an indicator of environmental sensitivity, which constitutes the most recent meta-framework on sensitivity. Furthermore, the assessment of SPS involving behavioral measurements is investigated in terms of validity and reliability across the lifespan. The neurobiological basis of highly sensitivity is examined primarily in relation to other clinical disorders through most recent innovative behavioral, genetic, and electrophysiological studies. Thereafter, the association between SPS and psychopathology as well as the risk factors of high SPS are explored. The second part of the dissertation examines for the first time the association between SPS and autistic traits in the general population. Our sample (N = 132) was recruited through advertisement in social media. Participants followed the given link and completed the study comprised of the informed consent, demographic data, and the Highly Sensitive Person scale (HSP) as well as the Autism Spectrum Quotient test (AQ). Primary results demonstrated a positive association of SPS with autistic traits (r = .18, p = .03), confirming the hypothesis of the study.