Sensory Processing

Variation within a typical population

  • Elise Byfield MacEwan University


In recent years, sensory processing disorder (SPD) has garnered much attention in the field of occupational therapy. However, sensory processing has not been adequately examined for individual differences in a typical population to be compared to a disordered sample. Our goal was to investigate these individual differences in a typical student population utilizing the measures commonly used to evaluate SPD. Thus, we administered the Sensory Profile questionnaire, a self-report measure of sensory processing across visual, auditory, tactile, and taste/smell domains. We also included a standardized checklist of typical behaviours displayed by those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a standardized survey of circumstances that might elicit Gaze Anxiety. Both SPD and gaze anxiety has been linked to ASD and therefore we expected there to be correlations amongst those measures. We hope this exploratory data tells us more about how people experience the world around them, and how this differs between individuals. Our next step would be to objectively evaluate the Sensory Profile for external validity in terms of behavioural thresholds for sensory processing.

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michelle Jarick