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What Is a Sensitivity Test?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2014
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In general terms, a sensitivity test is a procedure which determines how responsive the subject is to certain outside stimuli. There are many types of sensitivity tests, including emotional, gender, and cultural tests. Each is performed differently and may help both the subject and those administering the test better understand certain behavior patterns or symptoms and how to treat them.

Cultural sensitivity involves acknowledging that differences exist between cultures, but refraining from judging the differences as right or wrong. An emotional sensitivity test will display results regarding how likely a person is to react emotionally to her environment. Gender sensitivity is close to cultural sensitivity in definition in that a healthy sensitivity accepts there are differences between genders, but does not label them as good or bad.

A sensitivity test may be an adequate way to understand a person's actions or behavior causes. For this reason, this type of test is commonly administered by psychologists or psychotherapists. Some sensitivities may be corrected through therapy, and others may require a form of medication. Sensitivities such as anxiety may be due to imbalances in the brain's chemical makeup, which may need medication to correct.

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The benefits of a sensitivity test in most cases is better understanding. By better understanding a patient, a medical professional may be able to better help him. Identifying that a patient is more sensitive to certain stimuli than another person can give clues as to how to better treat ailments or harmful behavior. The possibility that a patient is less sensitive to certain stimuli, such as pain, also exists. Results like these are also generally helpful in determining a treatment plan.

Many other types of sensitivity tests exist, such as noise and motion. Certain forms of sensitivity testing may also be performed on patients suspected to have degrees of autism. Those with autism may be more sensitive to some stimuli and, at the same time, less sensitive to others. There have also been several studies linking autism with certain types of food allergies, which may be tested through a food sensitivity test.

Other types of sensitivity tests relate to the medical world, such as allergy and culture testing. These tests asses how sensitive a subject is to allergens or illnesses. Tests may also be administered to discover what drug or combination of drugs is most effective against a certain virus or illness.

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