A well-functioning society depends on many things, but one of these is the balance between less-sensitive and more-sensitive individuals. There's a reason why the ratio of Highly Sensitive to non-Sensitive people remains constant at around 15-20%.
Let's look at a helpful overview from a group of experienced researchers into this temperament, then I'll put it into some plainer language.
High Sensitivity 'is a genetically-based trait associated with greater sensitivity and responsivity to environmental and social stimuli.'
What does that mean?
High Sensitivity or Responsivity is an evolutionary adaptation - something selected for - that is beneficial to a society or group, because those who have it are more aware of subtle things which influence survival and well-being, and which those without it more often miss. It allows people to connect better with each other, understand and help each other more effectively, and co-operate as a result.
It's called a 'stable trait' here because this distinguishes it from disorders (that's why the title says, 'seemingly related disorders' - these are disorders which can seem to be related to High Sensitivity, but are not), which are not stable traits.
‘Deep integration’ means that Highly Responsive people apply all the little pieces of disparate information to form a whole picture of understanding. So, where most people are letting a lot of information 'bounce off' them, Highly Responsive people are taking it in, then deeply integrating each of those pieces of information with their existing knowledge. This creates insights which no-one else is getting. They have more information at their disposal, and they know how to use it.
(They are, uniquely, details and big-picture people!)
A Highly Sensitive person will tend to have a very good memory, since they have so deeply integrated the details of what they’ve heard, read, and experienced. The sensory data that they absorb isn’t floating around in its original form, but has been connected and made meaningful. This cements it into their minds, so that when the time comes where it’s needed, the applicable knowledge arises, available to apply to the situation at hand.
* The exception to this ability to apply highly relevant, detailed information to the situation at hand is when a Highly Sensitive person is in a situation where the stress response occurs – what we call ‘fight-or-flight’. This bypasses that excellent ability to recall and apply salient information, and creates a ‘deer in the headlights’ experience instead. This is one reason why it’s SO important to have conditions which help Highly Responsive people to remain calm and able to take in, integrate, and recall everything that they are uniquely and so well able to do.
Tamara - Sensitive Thrive is my consulting business. I believe that the world needs Highly Sensitive people who are flourishing. We need their hope, insight, wisdom, and awareness of beauty and possibility. My vision is to help create a culture where this temperament is known, understood and valued; where organisations seek Highly Sensitive people to work for them, because they know what they can do. Where HS people feel like they fit in their workplaces, because those workplaces also fit them. A world where HS people belong, thrive, and flourish, and the world is better for it.