How we make sense of our sensory world and why we may act as we do (and how to design for neuro-diversity)

Does a family member (or colleague) like to work with noise in the background, yet it drives you a little bit crazy because you crave the solitude of silence? Do you tap your knee under the table incessantly while you solve problems? Can you work well in isolation or do you thrive amongst the hustle and bustle associated with frequent interruptions and activity around you? There is neurological science behind our tolerance to the sensory world and our resulting behaviours. In this webinar, participants will learn about sensory processing and profile determination – an application of neuroscience and sensory integration to inform the design of work, jobs, team and organisational leadership strategy, and individual health behaviours. We speak about trait and state anxiety and how to have empathy for others in a neuro-diverse world! This webinar provides an ecological framework to better understand human performance.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the presentation you will be able to:

  • Define sensory processing and sensory profiles to help inform design strategy

  • Explain trait and state anxiety and methods that facilitate a relaxation response for good decision making and high performance

  • Identify valid methods that can be used to determine individual sensory profiles that can help inform design strategy in areas that support job and work design, the environment (the urban and built environment), team development, and individual health behaviours

  • Design for Neuro-Diversity is a niche research and practice area of Dr Pazell's. Dr Pazell has helped organisations learn about the differences in the way that people perceive their world through their senses (touch, taste, hearing, vision, activity, and movement) assimilate this information, and respond to the information; our “sense types” can contribute to patterns of behaviour and expression of personality. This information can inform work teams about design now and in the future, as well as leadership strategy.


Managing Director | Principal Design Strategist

Dr Sara Pazell

Dr Pazell holds affiliations with five Australian universities, including that as an Industry Fellow with the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland. Dr Pazell provides teaching and research support in organisational science, human factors, ergonomics, health and wellness, safety, and allied health. Dr Pazell is part of the international advisory committee for the WELL Movement concept v2 and an expert faculty member for Australia’s only certified Wellness WiseTM Practitioner training program. Dr Pazell was the committee chair for the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia’s Good Work Design position paper and supporting resources. Her other passions include instructing yoga and sports & strength conditioning.