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National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Prevention Research
Volume 10, Number 4
July/August 1995

Measuring Sensation Seeking

Although often portrayed as the pursuit of physically stimulating and/or dangerous behaviors, sensation seeking, as described by the developer of the concept, Dr. Marvin Zuckerman of the University of Delaware, includes other less obvious dimensions. A scale devised by Dr. Zuckerman measures individual differences in sensation seeking along four dimensions: thrill and adventure seeking, experience seeking, disinhibition, and susceptibility to boredom. These four dimensions encompass behaviors such as engaging in physically risky activities; pursuing new experiences through travel, music, art, and drugs; seeking social stimulation through parties, social drinking, and a variety of sex partners; and avoiding boredom produced by unchanging circumstances.

Sensation seeking may include a wide variety of activities such as skydiving, body-contact sports, hiking and camping, visiting a museum, attending a theatrical performance, or playing computer and video games.

From NIDA NOTES, July/August, 1995

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