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

Appetite for Risk: What Is Your Approach to Risk?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 A Sideways View
People are quite different in their appetite for risk. Are "risky types" risky in all their behaviors: in the workplace, in their personal relationships, in the way they drive, in what they eat and drink?


By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 A Sideways View
Is the world biased in favour of extraverts? We know a lot about the causes and consequences of being extraverted. So what is the underlying psychology of extraversion?

Why White, Female Killers Become Celebrity Monsters

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on November 02, 2015 Wicked Deeds
When an attractive young, white woman is charged with murder, the media feed the public’s huge appetite for graphic images and information on the case. It is in the best financial interests of the media to feed the frenzy because large consumer audiences are attractive to advertisers who pay to reach their readers and viewers.

Are Fictional Heroes Making Us Stupid About Gun Control?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 09, 2015 Ambigamy
Those who oppose gun control could be influenced more by their Netflix account than by the NRA. Availability bias explains why.

Do Social Odors Build Cities?

By Gayil Nalls Ph.D. on October 02, 2015 Sensoria
Is your smell communicating everything about you, from your state of mind to the foods and drugs you take? Learn how the invisible sense of smell influences every aspects of your daily life.

The Zodiac and Other Thrill Killers

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Wicked Deeds
Thrill killers like the Zodiac are perfectionists and often have narcissistic personalities. Such traits may drive them to pursue the goal of a perfect murder. Their motive is to induce pain or terror in victims prior to killing them. Victims are generally strangers but the killer may stalk them for a period of time before the attack to fuel the the excitement of the hunt.

How Trump Gets Away with Driving People Crazy

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on September 09, 2015 Just Listen
What does Donald Trump have in common with all the people that successfully drive us crazy?

Superfluidity: Decoding the Enigma of Cognitive Flexibility

By Christopher Bergland on September 02, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Brain researchers have developed new tools for predicting levels of cognitive flexibility and "superfluidity" of thought.

The Enduring, Ghoulish Legend of Lizzie Borden

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on August 31, 2015 Wicked Deeds
The story of Lizzie Borden has taken on mythical proportions over the years. Despite her acquittal in criminal court in the nineteenth century for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie has always been considered guilty by the public as a result of ghoulish media and cultural representations of her.

Why a New Partner Boosts Your Sex Life

The review reports a recent British survey which found women recorded an average of eight opposite sex sexual partners over their lifetime, while men reported 12. But the survey also found 22% of women and 14% of men reported having only one sexual partner in their lifetime.

Why high heels make women more attractive

In their recent study, entitled "High heels as supernormal stimuli: How wearing high heels affects judgements of female attractiveness", the psychologists compared ratings of women walking in flat shoes, with the same women walking in high heels, in order to establish whether or not walking in high heels enhances the attractiveness of gait.

Could Online Pornography Be A Silent Yet Exploding Epidemic?

Online pornography may be an emerging epidemic. Perhaps we need to treat the internet like any other possible addictive substance. Then we can be more thoughtful and intentional in being sure that online pornography doesn’t take hold of us and our youth.

Living with Type-A Behavior

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 How To Do Life
You're a hurried, angry person. Now what?

Can you be addicted to adrenaline?

People who seek high- sensation experiences are more vulnerable to substance abuse.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) And Addiction

The core feature of BPD is impulsivity and poor emotional regulation.

The Psychological Appeal of Donald Trump

Like Peter Finch in the movie Network and like the American public, Trump is "mad (and rich) as hell and not going to take it anymore!"

Moral Panic: Who Benefits From Public Fear?

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 Wicked Deeds
Moral panic is a situation in which public fears and state interventions exceed the objective threat posed by an individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating it. Central to the concept is an argument that public concern or fear over an alleged social problem is mutually beneficial to state officials, politicians, law enforcement and news media.

Gambling: Harmless Fun or Perilous Compulsion?

By E E Smith on July 19, 2015 Not Born Yesterday
Omar Sharif, who died recently, was known for his roles in great movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago." Many people also knew that he was a world-class bridge player but I, for one, was surprised to learn that he had lost several fortunes over the years while gambling on the game.

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 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 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

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?

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.