News and media Radboudumc news Corina Greven appointed professor
1 March 2021

Effective 1 March 2021, Corina Greven has been appointed Professor of Environmental Sensitivity in Health at Radboud University Medical Center/Radboud University. Her research will focus on the reasons why people differ in the extent to which they are sensitive to both negative and positive stimuli from the environment, and the role of increased sensitivity for our health.

The questions Corina Greven tries to answer is why people differ in how sensitive they are to environmental stimuli, such as light, sound or crowds. She also investigates whether and how we can  prevent people from becoming over-stimulated by these stimuli. Within her field of research, she looks at how increased sensitivity can influence our mental health, both negatively and positively. She focuses on research into traits and mental disorders associated with environmental sensitivity, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and on the personality trait Sensory Processing Sensitivity, also known as high sensitivity.

Research on high sensitivity

Since 2017, Corina Greven, affiliated with the Nijmegen Donders Institute, has been specializing in high sensitivity. This is not a disorder, but a trait, which is related to being more susceptible to environmental information. The trait shows a connection with benefiting more from positive stimuli such as preventive interventions, but as a trade-off is also associated with getting over-stimulated more easily. At least one in five people appear to be highly sensitive, but there is still unexplored territory in the scientific field. She will focus on this niche. Meanwhile, the personality trait has the attention of government agencies, companies, and training institutes for mental health care, and the scientific relevance is recognized.

This field of research shows connections with previous studies conducted by Corina Greven on ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. Although ADHD, autism and high sensitivity are different in many ways, through studying them together in a transdisciplinary approach, she aims to gain deeper insight into cognitive, emotional and sensory processing in high sensitivity. With her results, she hopes, among other things, to offer new insights to recognize high sensitivity already in young children, and to give health care providers, employers and parents tools on how to prevent psychological problems and promote positive mental health.

Positive aspects of ADHD

Corina Greven (1983, Nürnberg, Germany) studied psychology at University College London. She specialized in social, genetic and developmental psychiatry. She received her PhD from King's College London on research on ADHD (title of thesis: 'A behavioural genetic investigation of associations between ADHD traits, reading and mathematics ability'). She has been working at the Radboud university medical center since 2012. She established her name through several influential articles on the positive aspects of ADHD, which has led to a shift in thinking about ADHD. She also studies the effectiveness of mindfulness-based intervention for children with ADHD. She is also affiliated with Karakter child and adolescent psychiatry.

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