Alexandria Epperly | Cognitive Effects of Individual Differences in Sensory Processing Sensitivity

Research on environmental sensitivity has primarily focused on the genetic and environmental factors that may play a role in the development of this trait, as well as how the characteristic differential neural activity in highly sensitive individuals may relate to common features, such as increased awareness of environmental subtleties and increased ability to empathize with others (see Greven et al., 2019 for a review of current research). The current study aimed to contribute to the literature by investigating the implications of individual differences in sensory processing sensitivity on cognition, specifically in episodic memory performance. A convenience sample of 22 Ball State University students was used to assess this possible relationship and measurements were obtained using the Highly Sensitive Person Scale (Aron & Aron, 1997) and a semantic processing task developed from Packman and Battig (1978). The hypothesis that environmental sensitivity would correlate positively with episodic memory performance was not supported. Limitations to the study are discussed and suggestions for future research are highlighted, as further investigation may underline the importance of considering the impact of individual differences in sensitivity on cognition and other factors affecting of every-day life.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniele Nardi

Department of Psychological Science