What causes the HSP trait? In the 1980’s the findings of an important medical study were released. The study laid a biological and scientific basis for understanding the highly sensitive trait.
Dr. Norman Geschwind, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study of 3000 people with Dr. Peter Behan, a neurologist at the University of Glasgow. He was attempting to discover the correlation between left handedness, learning disorders and genetic diseases. The report, titled “Cerebral Dominance” revealed his findings.
Apparently what causes the HSP trait is stress during pregnancy which sets a chain of events in motion that results in changes to the development of the child. Higher levels of testosterone in the mother caused by stress cause the fetus to develop differently because the testosterone creates reserve lateralization of the brain. Reverse lateralization of the brain slows the left brain’s development as a result of the increased testosterone and advances a greater developed right brain.
One result is that brain functions may be located in atypical places in the brain -an example would be language skills changed to a location in the right brain; speech problems may be a result. Another result is a greater chance of left-handedness, a known characteristic of highly sensitive people. Since each side of the brain controls the opposite handed, handedness located in the right brain results in left-handedness – an HSP effect that is more pronounced in males than females.
The study that Dr. Geschwind did with Dr. Behan showed left-handed people were 2 and 1/2 more times more likely to have autoimmune disorders and 10 times more likely to have learning disabilities. Near relatives of left-handed people can also be affected and may acquire HSP traits. Apparently there is a familial genetic basis for these conditions so that any family member can be right handed and also experience learning difficulties, autoimmune disorders and other human genetic diseases because the family has a history of left-handedness and the highly sensitive trait. It is possible that what causes the HSP trait in some individuals is a familial genetic condition, possibly from a prior generation where stress during pregnancy resulted in the birth on an HSP child.
It is amazing that stress can be so powerful that it can cause a human being to become a different person – that it can effect such a powerful change in a human being. Violence and the threat of violence are bad enough under ordinary circumstance. When they occur during pregnancy, a human being can be born with a variety of sensitivities as well as any number of genetic diseases. That’s a lot of damage! What causes the HSP trait is stress. In a world of 7 billion people, reducing stress would seem to be a humane solution to the consequences of excess stress.