Are you SPS?

I love research reports; they provide an unending source of entertainment. I don’t have the exact figures, but chances are the money spent every year on producing research reports closely rivals annual budgets of Hollywood and Bollywood productions put together.

But to get around to the topic of this post: According to a report in today’s The Times of India, ‘About 20% of all people are born with a trait called Sensory Perception Sensitivity’ (or SPS, if you can’t pronounce that). To quote further, ‘(it) can manifest itself as the tendency to be inhibited, or even neuroticism – a tendency to experience negative emotional states, the study said.
The trait can be seen in some children who are “slow to warm up” in a situation but eventually join in, need little punishment, cry easily, ask unusual questions or have especially deep thoughts.’

That means:

1 If you come across a child who cries easily, it is not politically correct to say, “Stop being a sissy!” You have to say, “Stop being Sensory Perception Sensitive!”

If your four year-old son asks you, “How was I born?” And you reply, “God made you.” And he counter-questions, “Were you on tour then?” don’t slap him (or yourself), he can’t help it, he has Sensory Perception Sensitivity.

3 When the Maharashtrian saint Ramdas replied to the question he was asked when he was a child, “What are you thinking about?” with, “I am meditating on the universe,” it was not a sign of his genius, it was a sign of Sensory Perception Sensitivity.

The report goes on to say, ‘People with SPS (ha, the PTI reporter can’t pronounce it!), trait prefer to take longer to make decisions (Wife! Are you reading this?), are more conscientious (Wife? I hope you are not reading this!), need more time to themselves in order to reflect and are more easily bored with small talk’.

That means:

1 Hamlet had Sensory Perception Sensitivity. (For the Shakespeare-challenged, Hamlet was a guy who kept on wondering, “To be or not to be” until he was killed by a fruit vendor. Why fruit vendor? Find out later in the post.)

2 There is nothing wrong with the guy who is boring you to death in a party. But there is something definitely wrong with you – You have Sensory Perception Sensitivity.

The report is a result of research carried out at Stony Brook University in New York (what kind of scientists would be working in a university named Stony?). It was helped by two Chinese universities: Southwest University and Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Research reports! The latest addition to things manufactured in China. I wonder what that means.

But do not feel special if you have Sensory Perception Sensitivity. The report continues, “The sensitivity trait is found in over 100 species, from fruit flies (does that mean Hamlet was a fruit fly?), and fish to canines and primates, indicating this personality type could sometimes provide an evolutionary advantage.

Does that mean a fruit fly has an evolutionary advantage over 8 out of 10 people I know? Well, let me count… 1, 2, 3… Yes, it does.


  1. So you can be moody, withdrawn, stick your tongue out at the guy who is boring you to death with his unfunny jokes and blame it on SPS?

    And now I will have to think twice before swatting a fruit fly.

    Brilliantly funny post btw.

  2. Of course, we can! Just keep the report handy.

    That would make PETA glad!

    Thanks Purba!

  3. What a coincidence!

    I just had my first lessons of SPS Software in the morning, and now I am reading this post.
    But believe me, this post is million times entertaining than that stupid software.

    Hamlet a fruit fly... haa haa!


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