The exploration of unconscious perceptions

Several disciplines within neuroscience are now dealing with processes in parts of the human brain that are not accessible to consciousness. There is much to suggest that the developmental history of the central nervous system is the key to understanding what we understand as subconscious. We start from an evolutionary approach that states that the human nervous system has evolved as the basis of the mind from simpler precursors.

A large part of the unconscious perceptions are processed in certain structures in evolutionarily older parts of the brain and reflexively lead to unconscious emotions and actions. According to the urgency, for example in the event of a danger to life, the distances between the absorption of the stimulus and the reaction are extremely short. The anatomy and physiology of the structures involved are known down to the smallest detail.

The situation is different with preconscious processes, which instinctively or intuitively lead to decisions and actions. They are already more or less strongly connected to the cerebrum. These preconscious perceptions, according to their existential significance, already pass through the thalamus, the gateway to consciousness and reach the lower layers of the associative centers. They form the bridge to what we understand by consciousness and influence our actions more than we want to see. At this level, the confrontation takes place between the desires for impulses and what we call self-determined consciousness, reason.


Experimental studies in the psychoneuorimmunological laboratory are intended to investigate the adaptation response of personalities with different sensory processing sensitivity. It is not the strength of the stimulus that is decisive, but only the level of unconscious sensory processing intensity. 

The development of methods for detecting and measuring sensory processing sensitivity

While the SENS-E-Test already provides a proven and reliable screening procedure for the examination of adults, two tests for children, the SENS-SK for children from 0 to 5 years and the SENS-KJ for children and adolescents from 6 to 17 years are in the testing phase.


The SENS-Test for children builds on the positive experiences from the adult test (SENS-E). In the children's tests, parents assess their children on the basis of predetermined characteristic descriptions, such as: "My daughter/son is attentive and also notices minor changes immediately" and respond with "never", "possibly", "sometimes", "mostly" or "always".

Beforehand, the parents answer a short biographical questionnaire asking about age, gender, postcode area of residence, possible diseases such as neurodermatitis, allergy or psychologically conspicuous behavior. The answers allow to create a group of subsamples, which are then compared with the group of healthy children.


Participating parents can also examine their own predisposition for SPS. In doing so, they also support research into genetic relations.

For both the SENS-E-Test and the two children's tests, the participants receive results and evaluations immediately.


The development of therapy methods and implementation of clinical trials

Preventive measures and appropriate therapy methods will be carried out as trials in smaller health care facilities in a controlled manner and their effectiveness will be examined in pilot studies. Best practices will be tested for efficacy in large sample clinical trials (RCT).


Initially, studies are planned with patients suffering from atopic diseases. The patients are first examined using the SENS-Test. Only the patients whose disease is clearly determined by the level of sensory processing sensitivity are included in the sample.


According to the previous results of our studies, more than 75 percent of cases have a clear dependence on increased or high SPS. The total sample of subjects with increased or high SPS is divided into a therapy group and a comparison group.

The therapy group is treated according to the medical guidelines and accompanied by a proven cognitive behavioral therapy procedure.

The comparison group is provided exclusively in accordance with the medical guidelines.

After six months, the therapy success of the two groups, specifically the medical reports and the need for medical treatments, are going to be compared.

First studies found a clear advantage in patients, whos parents got accompanying behavioral therapy-treatment (Yuen-Yu Chong et al. 2019).