Sensation seeking is defined as “the need for varied, novel, and complex sensations and experiences and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experiences” (Zuckerman 1979, p. 10).
Research on sensation seeking has historically been based on the hypothesis that individuals have different optimal levels of stimulation (Zuckerman 1979). Individuals high in sensation seeking are posited to be chronically underaroused, as such they seek additional stimulation to maintain or attain optimal levels of arousal through pursuit of varied and novel sensations. Individuals high on this trait may find a wide variety of different activities to fulfill their need for excitement and novelty; therefore, this trait is related to a wide array of adaptive, neutral, and maladaptive outcomes which will be reviewed in this section.
The bulk of the research regarding this trait has used the Sensation Seeking...
KeywordsRisky Sexual Behavior Sensation Seek Sexual Risk Taking Novelty Seek Maladaptive Outcome
- Bray, R. M., Pemberton, M. R., Hourani, L. L., Witt, M., Olmsted, K. L., Brown, J. M., … Bradshaw, M. (2008). Survey of health related behaviors among active duty military personnel. Report prepared for the Department of Defense at the RTI International, Research Triangle Park.Google Scholar
- Carretero-Dios, H., & Ruch, W. (2010). Humor appreciation and sensation seeking: Invariance of findings across culture and assessment instrument. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 23, 427–445.Google Scholar
- Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO PI-R) and the NEO five-factor inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa: PAR.Google Scholar
- Kam, C. D. (2012). Risk attitudes and political participation. American Journal of Political Science, 54, 1540–5907.Google Scholar
- Roberti, J. (2004). A review of the behavioral and biological correlates of sensation seeking. Journal of Research in Personality, 3, 256–279.Google Scholar
- Zuckerman, M. (1979). Sensation seeking: Beyond the optimal level of arousal. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar