I am a big fan of studies that suggest my personality traits have an evolutionary advantage. In LiveScience’s, Study Sheds Light on What Makes People Shy, researchers from Stony Brook University (U.S.), Southwest University (China) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) reported that “about 20 percent of people are born with a personality trait called sensory perception sensitivity (SPS) that can manifest itself as the tendency to be inhibited, or even neuroticism.”
Moving along: Here’s the evidence that helped me determine I was in fact born with SPS (read: a chosen one):
“Previous work has also shown that compared with others those with a highly sensitive temperament are more bothered by noise and crowds, more affected by caffeine, and more easily startled. That is, the trait seems to confer sensitivity all around. The researchers in the current study propose the simple sensory sensitivity to noise, pain, or caffeine is a side effect of an inborn preference to pay more attention to experiences.”
While I’m not bothered by noise and crowds that much, I have mighty reactions to caffeine and am easily startled by all sorts of sudden movement. Is this interesting to you? Probably not, but read on, I’m about to share what makes my sensitivity so valuable:
“The sensitive type, always a minority, chooses to observe longer before acting, as if doing their exploring with their brains rather than their limbs.”
Okay, so to recap:
1. I am sensitive.
2. I think about things extensively.
Now let’s see what this means:
“The sensitive individual’s strategy is not so advantageous when resources are plentiful or quick, aggressive action is required.” This phrase is not important. The next one matters more: “But it comes in handy when danger is present, opportunities are similar and hard to choose between, or a clever approach is needed.”
Did you see that? When danger is present, and cleverness is necessary, I’m your gal!
I was quite pleased when I read this study, but then I saw the recommended story at the bottom of the page that quickly dampened my excitement: