Is hypersensitivity related to high potential? Characteristics of a hypersensitive

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Written by Paul Dugué

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Hypersensitivity is a trait of character present in many people without being aware of it. In my case, once I understood it, I was able to put in place strategies that made me feel much better (and especially to understand some of my reactions). This is usually a special feature of a person who High Intellectual Potential, a child with high potential gifted child as they are sometimes called). This search for affectiveness can cause a lag with others. This emotional potential, which can occur in the gifted at an extremely early stage, can be a brake on growth. I therefore propose here an explanation, a potential help, for these great emotions.

Hypersensitive: definition

Being hypersensitive means having a sensitivity (emotional or sensory) higher than average. This hypersensitivity may be temporary or lasting. For example, healing following an injury may lead to temporary tactile hypersensitivity (the time it becomes normal again). Conversely, a very emotional individual will be a lasting emotional hypersensitive. It is important to note that this hypersensitivity can be perceived as "exaggerated" by the surrounding area.

Elaine Aron is an American psychologist and psychology researcher. In particular, at the end of 20ndcentury, has done many work on hypersensitive people. For example, she developed the concept of innate sensitivity (introduced in 1913 by Carl Gustav Young). She estimates that 15 to 35% of the population would be highly sensitive individuals. This vulnerability and sensitivity can be present with both a positive (a positive) and a negative (a positive) character. Today, the science around hypersensitivity is advancing and the first results allow for a better understanding of the phenomenon.

As I mentioned earlier, the word Highly Sensitive Person may have a negative connotation as some find this sensitivity exaggerated. Thus, the word ultrasensitive (and ultrasensitivity) appears increasingly in the literature. Obviously, ultra is less excessive than hyper... It's a debate.

I'm hypersensitive.

Hypersensitivity characteristics: how to identify a hypersensitive in 20 points?

I will disappoint you: there is no 100% reliable method to define whether a person is hypersensitive or not. Sorry. However, I have prepared a list of20 characteristics of hypersensitive peoplewhich can put you on the track, depending on what I can feel personally. I warn again: this method is not completely reliable. It is only necessary to indicate atrendhypersensitive, not hypersensitivityproven. Alternatively, you can also check in via thehypersensitivity testI've prepared you.

1. You are stressed by repetitive noises

If you hear an irritating noise, you can become stressed to see very angry. This trend is quite general (who likes these noises?), but hypersensitive ones will have much more pronounced reactions.

2. You perceive subtle nuances in your environment

Do you ever feel that something changes or Something's wrong. in your environment without knowing what it is? Often, the ultrasensitive is so sensitive that the slightest shade in its environment is perceived. One morning, on leaving my parents' house to go to school when I was younger, I was a little disturbed because I felt something different in my routine. I didn't know what it was until later. Actually, my neighbors had painted their shutters. I had perceived (without reporting) the subtle difference in shine, and it changed.

3. You have a great sensitivity to different stimuli

This is the logical continuation of the previous points. Hypersensitivity can occur with our 5 senses: we speak of sensory hypersensitivity. Some will be more vulnerable to noises, others to brightness (or to a change in the varnish of the shutters opposite!), touch, taste, or smell. This explains why odors can be completely disgusting for some, while for others "it just doesn't smell good".

4. You always trust your intuition.

A hypersensitive person will tend to rely on his intuition. She is usually used to feeling things without necessarily knowing the origin. Often, when I have to make a decision, even if my reason tells me something, I feel that this is not the right path. And that feeling is more important to me. It's a deep conviction, an instinctive feeling.

5. You are regularly overwhelmed by your feelings

We're here on emotional hypersensitivity. Do your friends often tell you that you are an emotional, susceptible or vulnerable person? Do you have "hot blood"? Bingo, you're right in there. I feel incredible emotions for everything. One day I was sad for an apple because she was alone rotting. It's sad, isn't it, for an apple?

6. You put your emotions in a drawer

And when the emotions are too strong, you tend to put them in a drawer or small box, store them in the bottom of you and never open again. False insensitivity is a mechanism for defending hypersensitive people. If I force myself not to look at my feelings, they never existed, did they?

7. You are deeply wounded by the critics

You need to be loved, and therefore you live the slightest criticism as a "proof" that one does not love you. I am not talking about the reality of criticism (some are constructive and good to take). No, for you, a criticism is a criticism. It's evil, it's bad, you're bad.

8. You react easily

You are more easily touched by what surrounds you. You show great empathy, and so the problems of others quickly become your problems too.

9. You don't like to be wrong.

Normal, what's worse? You see the mistake as proof of your incompetence. Again, you are bad. You were wrong. You're not good enough. And we come back: you don't deserve to be loved.

10. Your inner life is complex and rich

I don't know how it is for you, but in my head there is a whole world, in parallel with the "real" world. Even though my shell may seem cold and hard, inside I am actually quite soft, all sensitive, valedinguished by my emotions. Even a "quiet" day becomes a real journey. In my head is the party.

11. You pay great attention to others

You have an unusual empathy. And so, to be good yourself, you need your entourage to be good. So before you solve your problems, you tend to settle those of others.

12. You are sensitive to the emotions of others

But then, are you sensitive because you have a real interest in their well-being, or because your welfare depends on their Well-being? I don't know. In any case, you pay great attention to others because you are a real emotional sponge.

13. You are meticulous and perfectionist

Similarly, I am a very perfectionist. I like beautiful things and well done things. At school, it was unthinkable for me to render a duty in which the titles were not aligned, or on a folded sheet. No way. And then you would see the cleanliness and organization of the draft on which I write this article... But I'm wondering. Do I seek this perfection because I love perfection, or because I hate to make a mistake (and so I protect myself to the maximum by thinking about everything)?

14. You are stressed and anxious

Nothing makes you panic? At school, giving a lecture in front of the whole class meant traveling to hell? There's a lot to bet you're one of the hypersensitive ones! Or you're just shy. Again, no one will know better than you.

15. You like to totally master a subject

When I start something, I go to the bottom of the question. Right now I'm interested in stock markets. For the last 10 days, I have ordered myself for more than 200€ of books on Amazon and have registered for courses on cryptocurrency. I have need to understand, all Understand.

16. You have a lot of trouble in love

Those who know me personally and read these lines must laugh because they know that I am a disaster in love. Nevertheless, at this moment everything is going well so let's cross our fingers. Nevertheless, love is not an easy thing for a hypersensitive person. I think I really idealized the concept of love in my head, and that it never corresponded with what I had.

17. You prefer individual sports

You, too, at school, team sports were your haunting? At the same time, how do I judge my individual performance on a practice that depends on the performance of others? Funny concept.

18. You think too much

Your brain is rolling 24/7. You think of everything all the time. It is often this characteristic which, combined with emotional or sensory hypersensitivity, should make you interested in the gift. If so, you are on the right site.

19. You are often criticized for your sensitivity

" Paul, you're too emotional. " " Paul, you are too sensitive. " Yeah, and?

20. You don't like open spaces

That's also a funny idea. After noting my performance in school based on the performance of my teammates, I find myself at work, being judged on my results based on my ability to concentrate in the midst of the noise of my colleagues? No, let me work alone. I'm fine.

Sensory hypersensitivity: what is it?

Now that the concept of hypersensitivity is understood, we will look at the first part: sensory hypersensitivity, called hyperaesthesia. It is actually a painful sensory integration during stimulation. In concrete terms, the hyperaesthetic person will experience pain during very slight sensory stimulation (where others will feel nothing) because his nervous system is more sensitive.

This sensory ultrasensitivity is generally present in people with High Intellectual Potential. In a neurotypical person ("normal"), it is possible to be hypersensitive "only" of one or more senses. For the record, hyperaesthesia is one of the various disorders of the spectrum of autism.


Let us now see how the five senses of people with hyperaesthesia are influenced by each stimulus.

Tactile hypersensitivity

Tactile hypersensitivity (or hypersensitivity to touch or movement) manifests itself as an extreme sensation to the touch. When I was all baby (my parents told me this recently), I couldn't walk barefoot in the grass or in the sand – today it's better. Or I don't like to be touched at all, kissed or kissed. I feel bad every time, the sensations are not pleasant. Kissing or shaking hands has always been a torture. So I favored the "hello" with a great general help. We thought I was an associable who didn't mean to say hello individually. The problem is, I'm uncomfortable when there's too much promiscuity. I need my "safety bubble."

In addition, there are some materials I can't touch. The first one that comes to mind is polystyrene. It makes me chill everywhere, but it's a little bit more common. I also find it difficult to bathe in the sea, for by drying water leaves only the salt on my skin that I can't touch without shivering.

Visual hypersensitivity

Visual hypersensitivity is related to mistreatment of the brain of information delivered through the visual channel. For example, bright places can become dazzling for a hypersensitive person. Or the brain will feel overloaded by the amount of information it receives. Typically, I find it difficult to look and be comfortable in an overloaded environment. My eyes don't rest. I prefer a white wall to paintings, or closets to open cupboards. The goal is that everything seems smooth and without too much relief, otherwise it wears out.

In the same way, I do not like the environment too bright. I'm much more comfortable with blinds, or a light on a variable.

Hypersensitivity to hearing

Hearing hypersensitivity is manifested by the fact that a noise that should be "only" a little loud becomes unbearable. When I go to the festival, I like to have balls or else I can feel bad and have to clog my ears. The same is true of certain action scenes in cinema. I feel attacked.

Otherwise, sensory hypersensitivity can also manifest itself in very fine hearing. But so the sound of the neighbor's TV can quickly become even more disturbing.

Olfactory and taste hypersensitivity

I have combined olfactory and taste hypersensitivity because I think they are related. The taste and smell go, in my opinion, rather well together. In any case, I think the concept is quite clear: it's about feeling more smells and tastes. In fact, it is especially that smells / tastes can give much more important reactions. For my part, I have a lot of trouble with body odors (transpiration, dirty hair, breaths, etc.). I can have nausea just by feeling a person (even if it doesn't smell especially bad). It's always a real adventure in the Paris metro (I've taken line 13 for 2 years... I'll remember it for a while!).

At home, I can quickly feel if my boyfriend opened a pack of cakes or not. Or if he has just eaten a stick of surimis (I hate it, I get nausea every time).

Latent inhibition deficiency

This paragraph will be completely linked to the theme of this site: high potential. Indeed, a gifted person will generally be a hypersensitive person. And her sensory hypersensitivity is complete with a latent inhibition deficit. In fact, latent inhibition is the fact that your brain sorts out information "to keep" and information "to throw away". If you walk in the street, your brain will only keep any obstacles on the sidewalk in front of you and not the colour of the passing car (even if your eyes see this color).

A person to High Intellectual Potential therefore has a deficit of this latent inhibition. In other words, the brain does no more sorting. He takes everything into account. If you add to this the fact that these people are usually hyperaesthetic, you get a great cocktail of information to treat.

It's my psychologist specializing in HIP who made this point the first time. In the middle of a session, while I did not understand this concept well, she said: " Now we've been talking for about 20 minutes. A "normal" person would only be aware of this discussion. You, I bet you can at the same time give me the name of the song that goes into musical background [Yes]The title of the big blue book on the shelf behind me [check], the color of my shoes you saw entering the room [yet yes], and how long a car has not been on the street [Always yes] " It was amazing. I knew, without realizing that I had paid attention to it. She continued shortly after: " Actually, your brain should not have kept that information and thrown it away. But you kept everything and treated it as important as what we're talking about. Besides, you're certainly just as focused on the current playlist as on what we're saying. You can't not listen to him. ».


By deepening the subject together, I realized that this was what could be a problem for a child in class. That's why we often say that HIP have concentration problems. First of all, this is what a "normal" student holds.

Concentration of a normal student

Now, this is what a gifted student holds. It's no wonder the course goes almost unnoticed in the middle of all this information!

Zebra child at school

This is also why I find it very difficult to stay focused on a discussion at the restaurant. In fact, I am focused on the discussions at all the other tables. Similarly, I find it difficult to walk in the street because I feel assaulted by all the moving objects and their possible trajectories. It's exhausting.

Hyperemotion: Emotional hypersensitive

The second part of this article focuses on emotional hypersensitivity, or hyperemotion. It simply manifests itself in excess of emotions. There are too many, and this is really not easy to manage. In my case, nothing can put me in (very) good mood. And vice versa: I find myself at the bottom of the hole for not much. I tried to give you an example below. I can get up from excellent mood just because my night dream was nice. Everything goes well in the morning, then the emotional roller coasters start: there is no more chicken to prepare for lunch, while I had planned to eat chicken. My life is ruined. I feel lost. I'm having lunch while depressing, and then I notice a rest of chocolate tablet for dessert. Everything's better, I'm in ecstasy. The day is coming, and it's time to go to bed. I find myself in the dark, lying in bed. I think (too much), and the roller coasters start again for no reason.

Internal hypersensitivity

You will notice that I have incorporated a line of emotions that I show. It's neutral, and it's no coincidence. In fact, hypersensitive people tend to create a kind of insensitive protective mask, which allows them not to show their feelings too much. We lock them in a box that we never open again. So a paradox sometimes settles: while inside the hypersensitive is in the middle of the roller coasters, outside there is little to see. Some of my loved ones have long taken me for a frigid and insensitive person, while in fact I was a great anonymous and hidden hyperemotion.

The functioning of emotional hypersensitivity

First of all, it seems relevant to me to understand where hypersensitivity comes from, how myhypersensitive brain. It's nice to know that you feel a nice emotional cocktail, but I'm sure you want to know why you feel that way. Anyway, I wanted to. To answer it at best, I have read a lot of scientific articles and I have summed it up in a video you will find right below.

In broad terms, j

Moreover, hypersensitive never rest. On the contrary, it treats emotional information in depth. This is why hypersensitive people may need more time alone than others.

Understanding everything about emotional intelligence and empathy

The hypersensitive person – and globally all the zebras of this world – has one central need: to be loved. It will therefore take its decisions by keeping this objective in mind. Furthermore, decision-making is done by following instinct and feelings, not reason. This is the big difference with the intellectual quotient. LEmotional intelligence – which is measured with the emotional quotient (EEQ) – is like an intelligence complementary to cognitive intelligence. Instead of reasoning, it is used to analyze, understand and interpret our feelings as well as those of others. Once the analysis is done, the goal is to adapt its behavior to achieve its goal. Regulating your emotions in this way would free themselves from the emotional overload of negative emotions to have better self-esteem. At least it's theory. "Emotionally speaking", I find no harm in expressing, crying, expressing his fears, etc. The problem can arise when these feelings are pervasive and prevent us from living fully.

It was first defined in 1990 by psychologists Salovey and Mayer as " a form of intelligence that presupposes the ability to control one's feelings and emotions and those of others, to distinguish between them and to use that information to direct one's thoughts and gestures ».

Emotional intelligence

If one pushes the idea to the extreme, then emotional intelligence can be the ability for one individual to manipulate others by understanding their emotions and influencing them, for the purpose of being loved. It's a vision I find a little machiavelic. That is why I prefer to think that it is a very developed form of empathy.

There are three main theories around emotional intelligence: (1) the Salovey and Mayer model, (2) the Goleman model, and (3) the Bar-On model. I'll come back in more detail on these models in a future post.

Stress and anxiety overdose

This pot of repressed feelings can lead to very strong episodes of stress and anxiety. I have been having anxiety attacks regularly for a few years now. Each time, the trigger element is minimal and unlikely (I want to pee but there is no toilet next door, I'm too hot in the subway, I won't be able to get there by the hour, etc.). I think all the unexpressed feelings in boxes come out that way. And then you have to add to that the gift that makes me make very quick connections, and that can make me stress. For example:

  • I want to pee There is no toilet > I can't pee. I'm gonna have to do it on the street. A policeman will fine me > Or I'll have to hold back for a long time > I'm gonna feel bad and miss my date just thinking about going to the bathroom.
  • I'm too hot in the subway. I'm gonna sweat and have aureoles. The subway is going to block and we're not gonna get any more air. I'm gonna fall in the apples. I will cause a delay on the entire line > Everyone will hate me > No one loves me.
  • I'm gonna be late. My appointment won't wait for me. He'll hate me. Nobody's gonna love me anymore.


In my article on high intellectual potentials you saw that zebras understood everything, and faster. They analyse their environment. Here we have just detailed how hypersensitive these felt their environment. When we combine the two, we obtain an exceptional lucidity of the world around us, which we call extra-lucidity.

The zebra has an exceptional awareness of the surrounding world. He anticipates every gesture, from an early age, despite the fact that he is not always mature enough to understand it. He quickly sees the world as it is, and no longer with innocence or naivety of a child.

When I was a child, I realized that my parents were "only" humans. So I was looking for solutions if they died. How am I gonna do it? I have to find a way to buy a house to be safe (and that's how I started creating online contests to make money). And now what if there's a war? A next virus more complicated to handle than Covid-19? Do I have to invest in an underground bunker?

In fact, this extra-lucidity constantly makes me analyze every problem and every hypothesis, trying to find solutions and be ready in case the problem actually happens.


In conclusion, hypersensitivity is the fact that a person is more sensitive than the average. This hypersensitivity can occur in two ways:

  • Sensory hypersensitivity (or hyperaesthesia);
  • Emotional hypersensitivity (or hyperemotivity).

Sensory hypersensitivity is an accentuation of the 5 senses. Specifically, the person will be more sensitive to odours, noises, or lights. In zebras, this sensory hypersensitivity is accompanied by a latent inhibition deficit: the brain is not able to sort the information to keep and remove. As a result, the gifted person constantly gets full of information and may find it difficult to focus on just one thing, it may feel overloaded by this constant flow of data. These sensory flows can be very disruptive, especially in some autists.

Emotional hypersensitivity is a greater vulnerability, or emotionality in the individual. The hyperemotional person will have exacerbated feelings and is usually very empathetic. It is important for the emotionally hypersensitive person to learn to manage our hypersensitivity.

The HIP have this double hypersensitivity that allows them to analyze and feel their environment. Thus, they develop an exceptional understanding of what is happening around them and in the world, called extra-lucidity.

Hypersensitivity infographic


  • Aron A., Aron E., Jagiellowicz J., (Personality and Social Psychology Review), Sensory Processing Sensitivity: A Review in the Light of the Evolution of Biological Responsibility, 2012
  • Aron E., Journal of Analytical Psychology, Revisiting Jungs concept of innate sensitivity, 2004
  • Aron E., The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive, 1997
  • Mayer J., Salovey P., (Yale University), Emotional Intelligence, 1990
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Hello! I'm Paul. I come out of many years of international business studies that have brought me to a few years of experience in management and events and the creation of a company. What I love most is to experiment and test new things, understand what's going on. So I've always been very curious, read and learn a lot. In order to share my passion for personal development, I decided to create Connect The Dots (CTD). Good reading!