The Orchid Children Hypothesis: More Research

Audrey ThumbnailAn intriguing study by Stony Brook University researchers may help explain orchid children, showing that people who are “highly sensitive” have “underlying difference[s] … in the brain’s attention to details,” according to an article on  The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to show that highly sensitive people who were asked to compare two images “showed significantly greater activation in brain areas involved in associating visual input with other input to the brain and with visual attention” compared to their less sensitive peers.

The article notes that “a number of researchers are finding that children who are highly sensitive and raised in a stressful environment are prone to anxiety and depression… However, when raised in an enriched, supportive environment, those with this ‘differential susceptibility’ are actually happier, healthier, and more socially skilled than others.” The article explains that, “in both outcomes, it seems that sensitive children are paying more attention to subtle cues indicating … what others are thinking and feeling.”

The study was conducted by Jadzia Jagiellowicz, Xiaomeng Xu, Arthur Aron, and Elaine Aron at Stony Brook University, along with Guikang Cao and Tingyong Feng of Southwest University, China and Xuchu Weng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China and was published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Other posts about orchid children:

New Theory Suggests that Overly Sensitive Children Have Over-sized Potential: Orchid Children,
More on Orchid Children,
Following the Orchid Children Discussion,
New Research Supports Orchid Children Hypothesis,
How Connected Parenting Can Help Orchid Children

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