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." Sensation-seekers are motivated by the immediate gratification sensory experiences can provide, so they may disregard the dangers that can accompany risky behaviors such as gambling, drugs, or reckless driving. Despite the hazards of certain behaviors, risk-taking has value and serves an important evolutionary purpose. Without the courage to advance into unknown, potentially dangerous territory, the human species may not have found new mates, populated the globe, or established the societies deemed most valuable.