19 10 11 - 17:49Via Laeeth Isharc:
"Latent inhibition refers to an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs". (Similar to Popper's writing that the eye of a frog has a theory of what a fly looks like - movement by a fly-shaped object = signal down the optic nerve; movement by a non-fly shaped object = no signal). I believe it relates to the operation of the reticular activating system in the brain.
People vary a great deal on this trait. To have low latent inhibition can be a mixed blessing, because if you don't have the cognitive processing power to manage the increased input then you just become overwhelmed, and it is hard to function. If you do have low latent inhibition, and sufficient horsepower then there is the potential for great creativity, because you notice things, and tap into things (actual real things in the world) that no one else does.
I think latent inhibition is a better term than "highly sensitive", but it is talking about the same phenomenon. (I think that when she talks about 15-20% being highly-sensitive it is like talking about 15-20% of the population being 'highly'-intelligent. Ie there is a considerable degree of variation along this trait, and the top 1% or 0.1% will be very different again from the top 20%).
"Recent research by social psychologist Elaine Aron and her team describes a set of human characteristics which she calls âhigh sensitivity.â
Her research suggests that approximately 15-20% of the human (and for that matter animals) have evolved to be markedly more responsive to their environment.
It is not that these âhighly sensitive peopleâ (HSPs) are gifted with super-hearing or hyper-acute vision but rather, that they have nervous systems and minds which permit more stimulation to enter without automatically and unconsciously shutting it out, and further, that they then cognitively process the stimulation that they receive in more detail than others do." - Highly Sensitive
On one side: what Nietzsche called "sensitives," who are aware of the fragility of life and the corruption of the motives of others enough to be frequently scared, retiring and shy.
On the other side: the crass personality which considers all that it does not understand to be "dumb," is relentlessly selfish, oblivious to detail and nuance, and thus very adept at feeding itself (within civilization).