Environmental Sensitivity

Development of measures for the investigation of individual differences in Environmental Sensitivity in infancy

Highly sensitive children and adults are potentially more negatively affected by non-optimal environments, more than their low sensitive peers, but they are also able to significantly flourish when the environment is positive.

A series of variables have been investigated in the scientific literature as candidate markers of an increased sensitivity to the environment during infancy. At a phenotypical level, these include negative affect and difficult temperament. However, though these measures seem to capture, to some extent, an increased sensitivity to stimuli and to the rearing environment, all are biased by a focus on negative aspects only.

The current project aims to develop and validate a comprehensive battery, including observational measures and semi-structured interviews with parents, to investigate individual differences in Environmental Sensitivity in infants from the first months of life. The projects is run in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London.

Published on: 22 April 2021