HSPs have more active mirror neurons responsible for other empathy and more activity in emotionally sensitive areas than non-HSPs. HSPs feel more emotions and often absorb other people’s emotions. They exhibit intense empathy, often sensing those around them’s emotions and needs (which can cause them to slip into a “fix it” mode that can be off-putting). HSPs are considered to have a strong connection to art, music, theatre, nature, animals, stories, and books.

There is evidence that HSPs respond more to both positive and negative interactions, but a series of studies performed by Jadzia Jagiellowicz showed that HSPs responded more than non-HSPs to positive pictures. If they had a good childhood, this was even more real. Throughout her brain studies, this response to positive images was observed in “higher” areas of thinking and perception, in some of the same areas as those found in the deep-processing brain studies. The greater response to positive images strengthened even more by a successful childhood is in accordance with Michael Pluess and Jay Belsky’s new concept of “vantage responsiveness” that they have built in order to emphasize the unique potentiality to positive circumstances and treatments of sensitive people.

E is Also for Empathy

In a study by Bianca Acevedo, sensitive individuals demonstrated increased activation in the insula, but also decreased activity in their mirror neuron system, especially when looking at the happy faces of loved ones. Their brains show more engagement in areas that indicate responsiveness even more than in areas that require empathy. Overall, though, brain activity showing empathy in HSPs was higher than non-HSPs when looking at facial photos showing strong emotions of any kind. This research is important because HSPs are often considered as people-pleasers or codependents. Given their normal brain activity around happiness and sadness, they will want to comfort those around them who are depressed. Sadly, this innate instinct is not always understood, so unscrupulous people can take advantage of it. HSPs also need to be aware that their energy and energy draining situations need to be managed. So there are limitations to what can be achieved by a sensitive person. It is a wise decision often to let others solve their own problems.