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What is an HSP introvert? What qualities do these highly sensitive people have and how can they benefit society?
An HSP introvert is a highly sensitive person. They are known to be deep thinkers with high levels of empathy, who are more observant and sensitive than others.
Read on for more about HSP introverts and real-life examples.
The HSP Introvert
Since 1997, Dr. Elaine Aron, a research psychologist, has further explored the trait of high reactivity, which she has recharacterized as sensitivity. She found that highly sensitive people, 70% of whom are introverts, share a set of distinct attributes. When recognized as an HSP introvert, this kind of person can benefit society.
These attributes suggest that sensitive people are deep thinkers, which might be a reason they dislike superficial small talk. Another study found that sensitive people reacted particularly strongly to photos of accidents, pollution, and people who were injured, scarred, or experiencing strong emotions.
Eleanor Roosevelt was an HSP introvert known for her empathy for others’ suffering. As first lady to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she was often described as “Franklin’s conscience” for her efforts to raise his awareness of social problems and get him to enact policies to address them.
For instance, in 1933, she spent three months traveling the country, listening to stories of the people devastated by the Great Depression, which she reported to FDR while urging action. Among other things, she:
- Proposed programs to help starving miners in Appalachia
- Urged the inclusion of women and African-Americans in government work programs
- Arranged for African-American singer Marian Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution canceled another performance in Washington, D.C., because of her race.
Later in her career, as a delegate to the United Nations, Eleanor helped secure passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Her sensitivity and empathy enabled her to help change the lives of millions of people.
Sensitivity and Conscience
Studies of highly sensitive toddlers found they had a stronger conscience than other children—they got more upset when they believed they had broken a borrowed and highly valued toy. Later in life, these children were less likely to cheat and break rules; they also had stronger moral traits such as empathy and had fewer behavior problems. The research suggested that having a stronger conscience may promote future altruism, personal responsibility, and better relationships.
Sensitivity may be physical as well as emotional. Researchers found that highly reactive introverts sweated more in reaction to noises, strong emotion, and other stimuli, while low-reactives sweated less. The less reactive you are, the thinner and cooler (less sensitive) your skin is. This may be where the description of being socially “cool” came from.
High-reactives are more prone to blushing as well. While they often find it annoying, it can be a socially useful and positive trait. Because it’s involuntary, blushing is viewed by others as an authentic sign of embarrassment, modesty, or humility—people who blush may be trusted more as a result.
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- How society overvalues extroverts
- Why introverts' overlooked strengths are the key to greater success in work, school, and society
- How extroversion caused the fall of Enron