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Sensation Seeking

Marvin Zuckerman

Subject Psychology
Communication Studies » Communication Reception and Effects

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Sensation seeking is a basic personality trait that has been defined as “the seeking of varied, novel, complex, and intense sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical, social, legal, and financial risks for the sake of such experience” ( Zuckerman 1994 , 27). The test used to measure the construct, the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) has evolved from the first version, containing only a general scale, to form version V. The latter contains four subscales and a total score based on the sum of the subscales (→  Scales ). The subscales are based on →  factor analyses and the results have been replicated in forms developed in many other countries. They are: (1) thrill and adventure seeking (TAS), an expressed desire to engage in physical activities or sports which are sometimes risky but provide unusual sensations of speed or defiance of gravity (e.g., parachuting, scuba diving, downhill skiing); (2) experience seeking (ES): these items describe the seeking of sensations and experiences through the mind and the senses, as through music, art, and travel, and social nonconformity and unconventionality; (3) disinhibition (Dis), i.e., seeking sensation through social activities, sex, and drinking, and associating with people who share these hedonistic preferences; and (4) boredom susceptibility (BS), which represents an intolerance for repetitious experience ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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