2 Overview Sensation seeking Description & MeasurementRelation to other personality characteristicsBig 5 & Eysenck’s PENOccupations, habits, hobbies related to SSFactors that affect SSProblems with measures of SS scales
3 Sensation Seeking Definition coined by Zuckerman Multifaceted personality traitSeeking varied, novel, complex & intense sensations/experiencesWilling to take physical, social, legal & financial risks for sake of such experienceMarvin Zuckerman; University of DelawareIndividual differences in terms of preference for sensory stimulationHigh sensation seekers have a tendency to seek out and engage in novel & varied experiences, even if those experiences involve significant risk. Examples of such experiences that should satisfy the needs of a high sensation seeker? (pathological gambling, alcohol/drug abuse, involvement in high-risk sports, risky sexual behaviors)
4 Measuring Sensation Seeking Self-report questionnairesUrgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, & Sensation Seeking (UPPS)Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS)Eysenck Impulsiveness Scale (EIS)Behavioral Constraint factor of Multidimensional Personality QuestionnaireUPPS: An impulsive behavior scale developed by Whiteside & Lynam has a subscale that measure sensation seeking (revised version: 12 of 59 items assess SS)
5 Measuring Sensation Seeking Self-report questionnairesZuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scales (SSS)14 different formsMany language translationsSSS-VFour subscalesThrill & Adventure Seeking (TAS)Experience Seeking (ES)Disinhibition (DIS)Boredom Susceptibility (BS)Zuckerman’s SSS’s are most popular operationalization of this construct.SSS-V: most popular; Four 10-item subscalesThis scale has been validated with data from self and/or peer rating of behavior & lab measures theoretically associated with the behavior. Concerns have been raised, however, (which we’ll cover in more detail) and it has been pointed out that researchers should continue to assess the facture structure & reliability of itemsAnyone have an opinion on which might be the most important in a job setting? My guess would be the BS subscale, depending on the nature of the job; perhaps DIS/ES bc if your employee is always out drinking/partying, he/she may be work or late a lotMust be widely accepted & it’s great that there are a lot of variations, especially for studying the construct cross-culturally (As Dr. Miller has pointed out in previous classes, understanding that there are culture differences is important for certain areas of psychology (such as a diverse work place and Ph.D programs/areas of research).Even though the scale is widely accepted/used by many, it has been criticized, which is a topic we will discuss.
7 Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire I like to have new and exciting experiences and sensations even if they are a little frighteningI like doing things just for the thrill of itI enjoy getting into new situations where you can’t predict how things will turn outI would like to take off on a trip with no preplanned or definite routes or timetablesI tend to begin a new job without much advance planning on how I will do itShould think of the construct as a continuum. In what range of a particular SSS do our behaviors tend to fall?Should get us thinking about how scores on these types of scales might be important in job, clinical & research settings (& also in our everyday lives)
8 Sensation Seeking Model GeneticBiologicalSocialPsychophysiologicalBehaviorsAttitudesPreferencesExplanation for sensation seeking is based on model influenced by genetic, biological, psychophysiological, & social factors, which influence certain behaviors attitudes & preferences
9 Sensation Seeking Behaviors Behaviors that elicit increased amounts of stimulationPursuing stimulating jobs, using drugs, driving recklesslyInvolve seeking out arousalAssociated riskRisk taking, however, is not primary motive in behaviorSensation seekers accept risk as a possible outcome of obtaining high levels of arousal, but do not seek out risk for its own sake.
10 Behavior, Activities & Attitudes Occupational choiceRecreationLifestyle choicesSportsSocial InteractionsSensation seeking preference is associated with preference for certain behaviors, attitudes & activities, which include ….There has been much research on the relationship between these aspects and sensation seeking, and we’ll also talk about the biological correlates associated with sensation seeking.
11 Relation to Big 5 Negative correlations Positive correlations SSS-V & Openness to Experience (r = .45) of NEO-PI-ROverall & each subscale (especially ES)Negative correlationsSSS-V Disinhibition & Agreeableness (r = -.40)SSS-V Boredom Susceptibility & Agreeableness (r = -.048)Positive: Intuitively, makes a lot of senseNegative: considered to have a lack of restraint, you’re less agreeable? (rigid; disregard for rules?) Very susceptible to boredom, you’re less agreeable? (seems backward?)
12 Relation to Eysenck’s PEN Psychoticism scale of EPQ relates to experience-seeking scores of SSS-VExtraversion scale of EPQ relates to Thrill & Adventure Seeking scores of SSS-VSensation seeking traits are also associated with personality features from Eysenck’s personality dimensions of extraversion, psychoticism, & neuroticism
13 ‘Bad’ & ‘Good’ Sensation Seeking Impulsive, unsocalized sensation seeking (ImpUSS)Disinhibition, Experience Seeking & Boredom Susceptibility of SSS-V & Psychoticism of EPQThose high on these scales tend to be nonconforming, nonconventional & lack planning skillsLess sensitivity to riskNon-impulsive, socialized sensation seekingThrill & Adventure Seeking of SSS-VRelating to the idea that all personality traits should be considered in terms of a continuum, Zuckerman has defined different forms of sensation seekingDistinguishing between the two are important in many areas of psychology; important for job market; don’t want to hire people who are going to be more likely to engage in risky behaviors that will affect their work ethic. On the other hand, however, I’m sure many employers would favor non-impulsive, socialized sensation seeking. These type of people would be good employees if they’re willing to take some risks for the sake of the company, such as taking a risk with a new product that could cost millions if it should fail but would be worth the same amount if it survives. Employers may want some employees who will take such risks & do their best to see that the risk turns out favorably
14 Stimulating Occupational Choices Jobs that are adventurous & non-conventionalServe as source of arousalSensation seeking and Strong Vocational Interest BlankHigh SS correlates with jobs involvingNovel situationsStimulating surroundingsUnstructured tasksFlexibility
15 Stimulating Occupational Choices Gender differencesHigh SS males: scientific or social service careersPsychologistPsychiatristSocial workerFemales: negative relationship between SS scores & traditional occupations (housewife, teacher)Gender is a variable related to sensation seeking, and males tend to score higher than females on the SSS-V overall, thrill & adventure seeking & disinhibition scales (US). However, males & females show similar scores on experience seeking subscale. Another interesting statistic is the result that divorced males score higher on sensation seeking overall & all subscales than married or single males
16 Stimulating Occupational Choices High Thrill & Adventure Seeking & Dishibition scoresFirefightersMountain & mine rescue squadsRace car driversMountain climbersParachutistsResearch suggests that people in these types of occupations prefer stimulation that’s more external or derived from the environment w/ a moderate degree of risk
17 Stimulating Occupational Choices New sensations & experience, less riskJournalist, movie double, surgeonElevated scores on SSS-V overall, Thrill & Adventure Seeking & Boredom susceptibilityHigh schoolers with high TAS scores rated jobs with risk as more desirableAircraft pilot, policeman, army officerResults from such occupational studies demonstrate that sensation seekers have an interest in or choose certain careers, which is based on their preference for stimulation
18 Habits Related to Sensation Seeking High sensation seeking related toFightingDrug useDrunk drivingSeatbelt usageIt has also been found that high sensation seekers ignore speed limits and traffic rules & take more risks that lead to near-accidents and/or crashes resulting in personal & other driver injuries.So not only are risky behaviors sometimes dangerous to the individual, but they can also put other ppl in danger (other’s who are not out to experience the same type of risks & experiences)
19 Habits Related to Sensation Seeking Lack of external stimulationBoredom with surroundingsMay lead to substance abuseSensation seeking and alcohol usageHigh scores on Disinhibition & Experience Seeking related to alcohol abuseRelationship between behavioral disinhibition, preference for sensation seeking & drinking habitsWhen external stimulation is absent, many high SS’ers become bored with their surrounds, and their preference for varied environmental stimulation is associated with proneness to boredom. A lack of activity or unstimulating environments often leads to substance abuse. This has been shown to be especially true for adolescents exhibiting high sensation seeking scores on the SSS-V
20 Habits Related to Sensation Seeking Peer sensation seeking and individual drug usageMutual attraction to various experiencesRisky sexual situationsHigh sensation seekers have more sexual partners, permissive sexual attitudes & are less likely to use protectionPeer sensation seeking preferences predict individual drug usage. Also, high sensation seekers tend to surround themselves with others who have the same preferences. This makes sense bc most ppl want to be around others who are most like themselves; want to be around ppl who engage in the same type of behaviors as you
21 Hobbies: Sports & Recreation Sensation seekers & socially acceptable meansListening to arousing musicVolunteering for experimentsTravelingEnjoying unusual or unpleasant art formsRock climbingScuba divingHang glidingSensation seekers can achieve an adequate level of arousal through socially acceptable means. As we might expect, ppl who score high on the Thrill & Adventure Seeking scale enjoy non-risky recreational activities that are stimulating
22 Biology of Sensation Seeking Interactions between neurotransmitter systemsDopamine systemsReward-driven learning, pleasure/euphoriaSerotonergic systemsMood, memory, sleep, cognitionGonadal hormonesSexual maturation
23 Biology of Sensation Seeking Rat modelsExploratory behavior: novelty seekingHigh responders (HR): high locomotor reactivityMore self-administration of amphetamines than low respondersIncreased levels of catecholamine after stressorMajor neural systems affected by amphetamine are largely implicated in the brain’s reward circuitryAfter exposure to a physical stressor, HR rats have been shown to have heightened levels of catecholamine in the dopaminergic system. Also, compared to LR rats, HR rats have been shown to have higher dopaminergic activity in reward brain areas, which suggests that corticosterone has reinforcing properties for HR rats & may have influence on the dopamine pathways of the brain
24 Biology of Sensation Seeking Research with human participantsRelationship between Disinhibition & Experience Seeking scores of SSS-V and dopamine/serotonergic systemsHigh SS: lower cortisol responsesHigh SS: high stress resistance, higher threshold of sensitivity to aversive stimulation, lower hypersensitivity & lower irritability
25 Biology of Sensation Seeking Association between gonadal hormones & scores on SSSMales: Disinhibition scores related to androgen & estrogen levelsFemales: Disinhibition scores related to follicular & luteal estrogensThese findings support idea that gonadal hormones are related to certain sensation seeking scales
26 Reliability of SSS-V (Deditius-Island & Caruso, 2002) Reliability generalization studyAnalysis of typical reliability scores & factors associated with variabilitySubscale with lowest reliability: Boredom SusceptibilityMean of .62 & Median of .61Inadequate for all applications by any criterionReliability generalization: meta-analytic technique designed to assess the reliability of scores generated by a specific measure-involves an analysis of typical reliability of scores & factors that are associated w/ variability in score reliability
27 Reliability of SSS-V (Deditius-Island & Caruso, 2002) Older Ps tend to demonstrate scores with higher reliability forES, BS & overallScores for SSS-V scales are less reliable than would be desiredMany studies have omitted reliability coefficients for score meansAge ranges aren’t clear in analysis; we don’t know what kind of ‘older’ they’re talking about. Older adulthood compared to middle? Middle compared to adolescents? Possible explanations for this? Older people know themselves better than younger people?
28 Reliability of SSS-V (Deditius-Island & Caruso, 2002) Improvements are neededResearchers seem to just assume that scores will be reliable because that is what has been indicated in previous samples (reliability induction problem)
29 Important Implications Reduce negative health consequencesProvide non-risky options that still provide adequate levels of arousalIntervention programsThis area of research is important in many different ways. In order to reduce negative health consequences for young adults, it’s important to be able to identify risky behaviors, attitudes and preferences and there can be programs implemented to replace such activities with non-risky options that can provide adequate levels of arousal. Future studies should focus on developing programs to substitute risky or unhealthy behaviors with equally arousing options.