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

Them! And Us

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on February 13, 2018 in The Infested Mind
Where did we learn to be frightened by hockey masks and chainsaws? The movies, of course. And films have promoted a fear of insects, from giant ants to brain-boring antlions.

Teens Are Not Just Risk-Taking Machines

By Elliot T Berkman Ph.D. on February 08, 2018 in The Motivated Brain
Adolescents have important developmental work to do. Despite what grownups think, taking needless risks isn't the goal for teens. Being risky is part of exploring the world.
Dietmar Rabich/wikimedia commons

Addicted to Thrills

By Elizabeth Young on February 04, 2018 in Adaptations
“Whoa!” Rocco exclaims. Eleanor looks away. Ed flinches. India maintains her smiling gaze, but I see her back press against her wheelchair, braced against that speed.

5 Reasons You Might Fall in Love With a Narcissist

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on February 03, 2018 in Why Bad Looks Good
If you love someone who loves herself, you are in good company. From sensation seekers to fellow self-lovers, research reveals the reasons we love those who love themselves.

We Live In a Culture of Violence

By Ana Nogales, Ph.D. on January 31, 2018 in Family Secrets
Violence: not just a mental health issue, but a social and political problem too.

What Inflates Investment Manias?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on January 25, 2018 in The Human Beast
Bitcoin and other crypto currencies may belong with the dot-com boom, and much earlier manias such as the South Sea bubble and tulip mania.

In the Digital Age, Why Voyeurs Prefer to Spy in Person

Even in the digital age, prying eyes prefer to spy in person. The thrill is in catching an unauthorized view of unsuspecting victims.

How Reality TV Preferences Reveal Personality

Reality TV watchers love to live vicariously through other people's lives. Clinical voyeurism is different: It's a paraphilic disorder involving observing unsuspecting victims.

Catch Your Partner Spying on Other Women? What It Means

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on December 29, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
Should you be concerned when your partner has eyes for you . . . and unsuspecting others? Will voyeurism harm your relationship, even if he is “just looking"?

What Makes a Hero? And What Makes a Psychopath?

Are heroes and psychopaths cut from the same cloth? It depends on how important fearlessness is for understanding psychopathy.
Wikimedia Commons

Are Heroes and Psychopaths Cut From the Same Cloth?

Do evil psychopaths and valiant heroes share a common core? The issue is complicated, but hard-core psychopaths are highly unlikely to be motivated to become heroes.
M. P. Priestley

The Ripper's Home Base?

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
As we approach the 130th anniversary of the Ripper murders, we see more theories about whodunnit; here's one that offers details from original reports.

The Vulnerability Hangover: A Fresh Take on Modern Eroticism

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Standard Deviations
A psychotherapist/sex therapist explores eroticism and the 'vulnerability hangover', a new phenomenon in modern sexuality.
K. Ramsland

Day Pass for a Psychopath?

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on November 20, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
Trusting a known killer with a preference for children to be on his own might be a mistake.

Why Do We Love (and Hate) Feeling Scared?

By Rob Henderson on October 30, 2017 in After Service
Why do we love feeling afraid, but also hate it? The paradox is simpler than you think.

Open Your Mind: Merging Psychedelic Therapy with Sex Therapy

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on October 24, 2017 in Standard Deviations
Psychotherapist reveals current advances in psychedelic research and sex therapy.

Unraveling the Teenage Mind

Adolescence can be a mystifying time for everyone. This new book can help.

Senseless Killing and the Need to Know Why

By Carrie Barron M.D. on October 04, 2017 in The Creativity Cure
Thoughts and research regarding the motivation for cruel, senseless crimes.

Big Shot

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on October 04, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
A wealthy gambler uses an arsenal and a casino hotel to kill 58 concert-goers and himself, wounding hundreds. His actions can help us understand what it means to be human.

Born To Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help

What happened to that wonderful, even angelic child we knew before he or she turned teen? Did we do something wrong…
K. Ramsland

I Wanna Be a Serial Killer #3

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 24, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
Some people believe that if they follow the example of an infamous serial killer, their aspirations guarantee success.

A Psychology of Rescue

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on September 08, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
A nurse gave patients lethal injections so he could dazzle colleagues by bringing the victims back to life. He may have been driven by "heroic rescue," one of our core motives.
K. Ramsland

Games Killers Play

A recent news report about coded letters from serial killer Ian Brady raises hope, but it might be just part of the games these offenders like to play.

Craving More Meaningful Trips?

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on July 12, 2017 in Creating in Flow
Guest blogger and constant traveler Steven Barber reviews an unusual travel guide, one that helps you figure yourself out in order to plan and take better trips.

The Opioid Crisis

The latest information suggests the crisis may get worse before it gets better.

Will This Angel of Death be Released?

With the approaching release of a suspected healthcare serial killer in Texas, old cases are being reexamined for possible new evidence against her.
K. Ramsland

Dangerous Things Kids Do

Adolescents seek out novelty and excitement as they explore their sense of identity, which leaves them vulnerable to dangerous trends and people.

Out of the Shadows: Shining Light on the Vampire Community

New research on modern day vampires sheds light on this misunderstood community.

Risky Business—Your Grandparents, Risk-taking and Falls

By Toby Ellmers on May 08, 2017 in Aging Brain, Aging Body
Can risk-taking explain the link between older age and increased falls? New research suggests so.

The Arguer

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 04, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short-short story.