The H.I.S.S. Questionnaire

As of 3/1/99, the questionnaire has been responded to by over 100 residents of California. The statistics for the study are still being worked through, and the preparation of a formal paper about the study is beginning. The results are remarkably robust. We'll keep adding information to this page as our work continues. The title, H.I.S.S., stands for Holistic Inventory of Stimulus Sensitivities.

Update 3/1/05: Statistical work is complete and the formal paper is still in preparation.

6/2003, David Ritchey published his excellent The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P.: Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person. Available through and other booksellers.

Here's what he says about it on the back cover:

CAUTION TO BOTH DEBUNKERS AND TRUE BELIEVERS: Consult with your cardiologists and fasten your seatbelts before you begin the journey through the pages of this book. Your immovable assumptions are about to collide with an irresistible force.

Below is the copy from dust jacket flaps:

The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P.: Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person

Are You An ASP?

More than five million Americans are Anomalously Sensitive Persons (ASPs). They exhibit uncommonly high levels of sensitivity in the physiological, cognitive, emotional, states of consciousness and transpersonal ("metaphysical," "paranormal," or "psychic") realms. The trait of ASPness, which has its genesis in the structure and chemistry of the brain, has important psychological, medical, educational and social implications.

Many of history's great humanitarians, artists and thinkers, including Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Pablo Picasso, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Frank Lloyd Wright, as evidenced by distinctive features in their lives and work, were probably ASPs. While anomalous sensitivity is associated with a variety of psychological and physical difficulties, including decreased life expectancy, simplistic attempts to correct this condition may be at the expense of undermining potential genius.

Drawing on vivid case histories and concrete data generated by testing hundreds of people with an innovative questionnaire, David Ritchey investigates the links between anomalous sensitivity and other factors such as gender, handedness, sexual orientation, personality and vocation. He explores the origins of this trait, discusses its pitfalls and possibilities, explains how to turn it into a vital asset and makes the world of the ASP comprehensible.

In addition to being a hidden source of giftedness, anomalous sensitivity may also offer tantalizing clues to one of today's greatest scientific mysteries, the connection between mind and matter. The research reported in this book establishes a realistic framework within which such things as extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, trance channeling and alien contact can be viewed as normal, if infrequently utilized, elements of the human repertoire. Ritchey proposes a single mechanism, based on established principles of neurology, quantum physics and holography, by which all such experiences can be explained, thus bridging the chasm between the scientific and the spiritual worldviews. He then leads the reader to the provocative conclusion, the essence, perhaps, of the next scientific revolution, that, in the realm where mind and matter meet, what is traditionally spoken of as "reality" may be only one aspect of a much larger spectrum of possibilities.

Combining ten years of solid scientific research with fifteen years of clinical insight, Ritchey's persuasive work in leading-edge psychology carries us to the frontiers of higher consciousness and human potential. This is a thought-provoking, life-changing book that has profound significance for the ultimate comprehension of the nature of the human spirit.

About the Author

David Ritchey is an independent psychological researcher with a particular interest in creativity, altered states of consciousness and transpersonal, ("metaphysical"," "paranormal" or "psychic") experiences. Drawing on a diversified professional background in finance, the arts and psychotherapy, he has taken a synoptic approach in writing this book, addressing a general, rather than an academic, audience. He lives with his dog Raven, "on an island off the coast of Connecticut".

A HISS questionnaire for determining possible ASPness is available on the website Continue to check there if interested.

cartoon from Ch 11, "Transpersonal Experiences, Indicators of Sensitivities". (p.190)

Book is available FOR $34.95 + $3.00 from: Headline Books P.O. Box 52, Terra Alta, WV 26764. (discounted at