Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Sensation Seeking

  • Jessica L. Maples-KellerEmail author
  • Danielle S. Berke
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1108-1



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...


Risky Sexual Behavior Sensation Seek Sexual Risk Taking Novelty Seek Maladaptive Outcome 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Beth A. Visser
    • 1
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityOrilliaCanada