Individual differences in sensory sensitivity: a synthesising framework and evidence from normal variation and developmental conditions

Ward, Jamie (2018) Individual differences in sensory sensitivity: a synthesising framework and evidence from normal variation and developmental conditions. Cognitive Neuroscience. ISSN 1758-8928 (Accepted)

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Abstract

For some people, simple sensory stimuli (e.g. noises, patterns) may reliably evoke intense and aversive reactions. This is common in certain clinical groups (e.g. autism) and varies greatly in the neurotypical population. This paper critically evaluates the concept of individual differences in sensory sensitivity, explores its possible underlying neurobiological basis, and presents a roadmap for future research in this area. A distinction is made between subjective sensory sensitivity (self-reported symptoms); neural sensory sensitivity (the degree of neural activity induced by sensory stimuli); and behavioural sensory sensitivity (detection and discrimination of sensory stimuli). Whereas increased subjective and neural sensory sensitivity are assumed to increase together, the status of behavioural sensory sensitivity depends on the extent to which the increased neural activity is linked to signal or noise. A signal detection framework is presented that offers a unifying framework for exploring sensory sensitivity across different conditions. The framework is discussed, in more concrete terms, by linking it to four existing theoretical accounts of atypical sensory sensitivity (not necessarily mutually exclusive): increased excitation-to-inhibition ratio; predictive coding; increased neural noise; and atypical brain connectivity.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Sensory sensitivity; autism; synaesthesia/synaesthesia; migraine; predictive coding; connectivity; neural noise
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Sussex Neuroscience
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2018 11:27
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2018 11:27
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80595

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