Sensory regulation, the ability to select and process sensory information to plan and perform appropriate behaviours, provides a foundation for learning. From early in development, infants manifest differences in the strategies used for sensory regulation. Here, we discuss the nature and characteristics of sensory seeking, a key behavioural strategy for sensory regulation often described as atypical in children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders. We evaluate theoretical models proposed to clarify mechanisms underlying individual differences in sensory seeking and discuss evidence for/against each of these models. We conclude by arguing that the information prioritization hypothesis holds the greatest promise to illuminate the nature of individual differences in sensory seeking across participant cohorts. This proposal aligns to molecular genetic animal and human evidence, provides a coherent explanation for developmental findings, and generates testable hypotheses for future research.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- Gain Modulation
- Individual Differences
- Sensory Regulation
- Sensory Seeking