What Is the Definition of a Highly Sensitive Person?

A highly sensitive person (HSP) is someone who is neurologically prone to paying greater attention to detail, taking a greater amount to time to make decisions, and having more conscientious thoughts or observations than other people, according to WebMD.com. HSPs are also characterized by heightened emotional sensitivity.

Initially researched by Elaine Aron, Ph.D, during the 1990s, the traits of an HSP have been found to exist in approximately 15 to 20 percent of the general population. Other defining characteristics include feelings of anxiety, being overwhelmed at certain stimuli such as bright lights, avoiding violent or upsetting situations or entertainment, having heightened emotional and sensory awareness, and possessing a high amount of empathy.