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 psychologist Sam Gosling. "They love bright lights and hustle and bustle and like to take risks and seek thrills."  

Recent posts on Sensation-Seeking

How History Will Remember Donald Trump

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on October 21, 2016 in Just Listen
Could Trump be just what civil society needs to resurrect itself from profanity, vulgarity, insensitivity and impatience that can often escalate to violence?

Risky Teenage Behavior Linked to Imbalanced Brain Activity

By Christopher Bergland on October 20, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
A new study from Dartmouth pinpoints the brain mechanisms linked to risk-taking and impulse control during adolescence. This discovery explains why teenagers are often reckless.

Sexual Masochism: Torture and Transcendence Tied Together?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on October 17, 2016 in Insight Therapy
Why would anyone experience pain and humiliation as sexually arousing? No longer defined as a psychological disorder, sexual masochism still puzzles psychologists.
BDSM scratches, labeled for reuse, Flickr

BDSM as Harm Reduction

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on October 13, 2016 in Standard Deviations
Research indicates that BDSM behavior can be used as a harm reduction intervention to provide positive mental health benefits.

There's a Word for Men Who Grope Women

We don't enable gropers by rationalizing their behavior. Do we?
Mugshot: public domain

Who Wants to Be Ted Bundy?

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on October 09, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
A girl in England wanted to copy Ted Bundy. So did a boy. Bundy remains a darkly contagious figure for those who aspire to black deeds.

10 Reasons New Love Is Like Crack Cocaine

Off-putting though it may be to some, here are ten reasons why I am sticking with “cocaine rush phase” as the best way to capture the first phase of new relationships.

Game Day: Trump v. Clinton—Why You Will Watch the Debate

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 25, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
Whatever you are doing at 9:00 pm tomorrow night, you might be tempted by the political Big Game. Research shows that out of concern or curiosity, you will likely take a peek.

Donald Trump Removes Gag Order on Melania

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on September 20, 2016 in Just Listen
Trump's sarcastic and inflammatory comments have no place when spoken to fearful, angry and therefore uptiight people, who are more likely to take them literally.

How to Become a Guru

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on September 20, 2016 in A Sideways View
Business Gurus make lots of money. Do they deserve the rewards and recognition that they get?

Appetite for Risk

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on September 11, 2016 in A Sideways View
Can we classify or categorize people according to the extent they enjoy risk taking?

Why Secrets Can Ruin Relationships

Being honest and emotionally vulnerable by not keeping secrets in a romantic relationship is a form of both personal and relationship integrity.

Ready to Rumble: Why We Will Watch the Presidential Debates

By Wendy L. Patrick Ph.D. on September 03, 2016 in Why Bad Looks Good
The debate schedule is set and the candidates are prepared to hit the stage. Yet viewers will watch the action seeking both flash and substance--education and entertainment.
Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

The Changing Reputation of Parents With Their Adolescent

It can be hard for parents to lose their positive reputation with the child to the more negative reputation with the adolescent.

The Psychological Roots of Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go scratches some basic psychological itches

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The science behind why we make decisions we know we'll later regret.

Watching Edie: An Interview With Novelist Camilla Way

Watching Edie, a new novel about friendship, is a psychological thriller.
K. Ramsland

Sugar and Spice, and a Nasty Little Vice

More crime stories today feature teenage girls as perpetrators, including those who aspire to kill. Our past crime categories don't quite address their stated motives.

Creating Fictional Worlds That Feel Real

By Laura Otis Ph.D. on July 13, 2016 in Rethinking Thought
When you read a novel, do you know what color hair each characters has?

Why "Keep Up With The Kardashians"?

The Kardashians are "famous for being famous." They are media stars, but their lives are no more interesting than ours: They have highs and lows, loves and losses, joy and sadness
K. Ramsland

“Hero” Serial Killers

In the news recently was a male nurse who claims he endangered and killed so many patients he'd lost count; he had wanted to be a hero.
Creative Commons CCO

How Athletes Can Take Risks That Pay Off

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 22, 2016 in The Power of Prime
It never feels like the right time to take risks in sports because there are risks to taking risks, primarily that of failure. Yet, only by taking risks can athletes find success.
Creative Commons CCO

Take Risks for Athletic Success

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 15, 2016 in The Power of Prime
Risk taking means pushing your limits, getting out of your comfort zone, and confronting failure, so that, when the risk pays off, you will experience sports success.

The Neuroscience of Planning and Navigating Your Daily Life

Stanford researchers have identified how the human brain navigates daily life.

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Lessons I learned as a spy for U.S. Intelligence

The Kelly Trump Rematch - If I Were Megyn Kelly

A mistake stops being a mistake when you learn the lesson it is trying to teach you and correct it going forward so that you don't repeat it.

Rocking the Vote: Is Trump Psychology Flash Over Substance?

Does Donald Trump have star power or staying power? Is Trump psychology a case of flash over substance?
Fetish Couture | by Bea Serendipity via Flickr, Labeled for Reuse

No, You Cannot Eradicate a Fetish

Evidence says fetishes can't be eliminated through psychotherapy, but many mental health practitioners still use harmful and antiquated techniques.

Psychological "Games" That May Be Helpful

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 12, 2016 in How To Do Life
Sometimes, a structured interaction can unearth important insights.

Suffocation Roulette And Childhood Choking Games

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on March 23, 2016 in In Excess
The ‘choking game’ (known as the ‘fainting game’ and ‘suffocation roulette’) is an example of self-asphyxial risk-taking behaviour. But how prevalent is it and what do we know?