Environmental Sensitivity

Environmental sensitivity describes an individual's responsivity to developmental conditions throughout the lifespan. We are interested in how individuals differ in their degree of environmental sensitivity along a continuum. We focus on the effects of stressful life events and micro stress across different contexts and developmental periods. We also aim at identifying protective conditions. In our studies, we use a broad range of genetic, physiologial, and psychosocial measures.

Associated Projects

Auditory, genetic, and psychosocial properties of high sensory processing sensitivity

One potential phenotypical manifestation of environmental sensitivity is high sensory processing sensitivity. People with high sensory processing sensitivity often report that they feel easily overwhelmed in everyday life situations due to lower thresholds for sensory stimuli and social-emotional stress. In this study, we focus on differences in auditory perception. We combine experimental methods with the analysis of genetic marker and psychosocial assessment to further characterize the biological and psychosocial properties of the reported differences.

Collaborator Prof. Dr. Jörg Lewald


Stress and well-being of people with high-sensory processing sensitivity during the second COVID-19 lockdown in Germany

In this study, we particularly focus on the experience of people with high sensory processing sensitivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. We assessed stress and well-being during and after the second lockdown in Germany as well as potential risk factors and protective factors for resilience.


High sensory processing sensitivity and stress in everyday life

Research has repeatedly shown that people with high sensory processing sensitivity report higher levels of chronic stress. Using ecological momentary assessment, we study to what extent daily micro stress contributes to these higher stress levels. We also assess potential psychosocial risk factors for this specific stress vulnerability as well as protective factors for resilience and successful coping strategies. 


Contact Dr. Vanessa Lux


Associated Publications

Lange, H. M., & Lux, V. (2021). Hochsensibilität: Einblicke in die Forschung der Arbeitseinheit Genetic Psychology an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Bochum, 2021.