What Is Sensation-Seeking?

Sensation-seeking, also called excitement-seeking, is the tendency to pursue sensory pleasure and excitement. It's the trait of people who go after novelty, complexity, and intense sensations, who love experience for its own sake, and who may take risks in the pursuit of such experience. Sensation seekers are "easily bored without high levels of stimulation," explains Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin. "They love bright lights and hustle and bustle and like to take risks and seek thrills."  

Recent Posts on Sensation-Seeking

The Smart One or the Pretty One? Pretty Is as Pretty Does

"'She’s really pretty, but it’s like she doesn’t even know it!' people would say admiringly of certain girls. Only then can you forgive a girl for being pretty: if she’s an idiot or a liar." Maggie Mitchell

Serial Killers: Modus Operandi, Signature, Staging & Posing

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on June 29, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
FBI profilers examine, among other things, whether a victim’s body was posed to predict whether an unknown offender is an organized or disorganized killer. Organized criminals are meticulous planners, often psychopathic but know right from wrong, not insane and show no remorse. Disorganized criminals are impulsive, irrational, and assault victims in blitz-like attacks.

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 6

By Eyal Winter on June 20, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Men, Women and the Roulette of Life

Why Are Teen Brains Designed for Risk-taking?

Here are four ways parents can reduce the danger

Do Teens Imitate the Sex They See in the Movies?

Although research finds that exposure to sexualized media is linked to more sexual partners and unprotected sex among teens, it is premature to suggest that sex should be edited out from the movies entirely.

Serial Killers and Bottom Feeders

New book adds details to the "Ken and Barbie" killers' case, including what happened to Karla.

Self-Esteem and Your Inner Biker

The news pumps up the biker “shootout” in Waco. The psychology of abandon cuts through the hype and examines how biker gangs mirror the struggle for self-esteem that shapes all of us—even you and me. Gun your engines.

Why Some of Us Seek Dominant Partners

Are you attracted to a romantic partner who is assertive and take charge? Or do you prefer someone less dominant? Your answer is likely to depend on your gender and personality. Women may prefer dominant “bad boys”, but some men prefer “bad girls”, and different women have very different reasons for seeking dominant partners. While other women may seek just the opposite.

Fifty Shades of Tattooing: Body Art, Risk and Personality

Women readers of the Fifty Shades trilogy have higher rates of risky behavior So do women who get tattoos. Both of these may be outward signs of a predisposition to take risk rather than a cause of such behavior.

How Not to Be Boring: Advice for Teen Introverts

By Sophia Dembling on April 22, 2015 in The Introvert's Corner
Teens crave and seem to admire risk taking. What can introverted teens do to scratch that itch?

Do You Tend to Dread Loss or Anticipate Gain?

By Elizabeth Wagele on April 21, 2015 in The Career Within You
Losing money and getting bad grades are more painful to most people than winning money and getting good grades are pleasurable. Some have figured out that they’ll be more likely to succeed (at losing weight, for example) if they commit to sending money to a charity they hate if they fail to meet their goal.

How Much Should Parents Protect Their Children?

A legitimate question about how much risk parents should allow their children to take, and how protective of their children parents should be has been all but drowned out by extreme emotion.

Happinesses

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in One Among Many
I found 26 blog posts on happiness in my blog archive. Here’s a list of them with a brief statement of contents for each. Peace and happiness!

Helping Clients Reconnect with Their Bodies

Clients with histories of physical and sexual abuse or neglect are often chronically disconnected from their bodies. Therapists should be mindful of the fact that survivors of abuse and neglect are likely to live in this state of physical detachment. Helping clients safely reconnect to their bodies is vitally important.

Protective Parenting an Adolescent

With all the media attention devoted to adolescents getting in trouble, getting hurt, and getting killed, it's hard for parents not to worry about their teenager and to act restrictively in her or her defense. However, the best protection parents can provide is self-management preparation for safely functioning in a hazardous world.

Teenagers Are From Earth

Our black-and-white thinking about adolescence is getting in our way.

The Neurobiology of BDSM Sexual Practice

How can one experience pain, either the physical pain of a smack on the tush or the emotional pain of humiliation, as pleasurable? Aren’t pain and pleasure diametrically opposed? The answer, informed by neurobiology, is that the opposite of pleasure isn’t pain but ennui— a lack of interest in sensation and experience.

The Mach 1 Experience: 6 Keys to Successful Risk-Taking

By Gregg Levoy on March 18, 2015 in Passion!
There’s no risk without fear, but living a passionate life means pushing yourself through your resistance. These 6 insights about successful risk-taking can help you jump-start your engines.

Science and the Online Dating Profile

Online dating is the new singles bar, one in which your words won't be drowned out by the music. But which words should you use? There is some scientific evidence about relatively more effective ways to turn an online contact into a real huggable moment.

Making Saves

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on March 17, 2015 in In Excess
Extreme couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries. Extreme couponers spend hours and hours on the internet or scouring scouring rubbish tips or supermarket car parks looking for coupons. But can it be addictive?

Study Finds People with ADHD More Likely to Die Prematurely

The findings of this study can be anxiety-provoking for anyone touched by AD/HD. But the answer may be as simple as effective treatment.

Do We Age in Stages?

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 12, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Today's adults have greater freedom than ever to decide how best to live.

Teenage Brains: Why Do They Do What They Do?

How is our environment contributing to teen risk taking?

Fifty Shades: Glamorizing Abuse or Harmless Escapism?

The Fifty Shades Trilogy has provoked controversy because the story revolves around an abusive relationship. A group of researchers has argued that the books may harm women by glamorizing abuse. However, the authors' findings are inconsistent with their claims. Whether the books have a harmful influence or are simply titillating fantasy remains to be demonstrated.

Are You Mentally Strong Enough to Combat Stress?

We can't get rid of all the stress in our lives, but we can choose to increase our resilience to stress. Building mental strength protects us from the harmful physical and psychological toll stress can take.

Marketers' Shocking New Ability to Target Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 03, 2015 in The Human Beast
During the fertile phase of their monthly cycle, women are prone to greater risk taking. For psychologists, this means that they are more likely to initiate sexual affairs. Marketers discovered that women are more likely to try new brands as well. Now they plan to use this fact in targeted marketing. Assuming that they get away with it, will the scheme work?

Adolescent Self-Management for a Successful Independence

A major goal of parenting high school age adolescents is helping them develop basic skills of self-management that will support more independence soon to come.

Think You Can't Get Drunk on Soda Water? Think Again.

Don't blame it on the alcohol! Blame it on your expectations about drinking.

The Teenage Brain on Drugs

By Richard Taite on February 19, 2015 in Ending Addiction for Good
One way to look at addiction is to consider it a form of learning, a type of learning that is extremely effective in its ability to affect the adolescent brain, report researchers working under an NIH grant.

Fatherhood by the Numbers

By Peter B. Gray Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in The Evolving Father
Fatherhood lags behind motherhood, but is also rising. That's fatherhood by the numbers. Scholars also call for increased research on fatherhood interventions, including more rigorous research designs to discern what the effects of those interventions on children will be.