The questions for this week are:
1. Take a look at the material on sensation seeking below. Do you consider yourself a sensation seeker? Why or why not? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your level of sensation seeking?
2. How would you rate your own achievement motivation? Why? In what ways is this an advantage to you? In what ways is it a disadvantage?
3. What did you learn about yourself from reading about the trait theories of personality?
4. What did you learn about yourself from reading the other theories of personality? (List and explain at least three things.)
5. How will you use this material on personality to improve your relationships (personal and/or professional)?
Applying Psychology: Sensation Seeking
What motivates people to kayak down dangerous waterfalls or go bungee jumping over deep canyons? According to research, these “high-sensation seekers” may be biologically “prewired” to need a higher than usual level of stimulation (Zuckerman, 1979, 1994, 2004).
To sample the kinds of questions that are asked on tests for sensation seeking, circle the choice (A or B) that BEST describes you:
A I would like a job that requires a lot of traveling.
B I would prefer a job in one location.
A I get bored seeing the same old faces.
B I like the comfortable familiarity of everyday friends.
A The most important goal of life is to live it to the fullest and experience as much as possible.
B The most important goal of life is to find peace and happiness.
A I would like to try parachute jumping.
B I would never want to try jumping out of a plane, with or without a parachute.
A I prefer people who are emotionally expressive even if they are a bit unstable.
B I prefer people who are calm and even-tempered.
Source: Zuckerman, M. (1978, February). The search for high sensation, Psychology-Today, pp. 38–46.Copyright © 1978 by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission.
Research suggests that four distinct factors characterize sensation seeking (Legrand et al., 2007; Wallerstein, 2008; Zuckerman, 2004, 2008):
1. Thrill and adventure seeking (skydiving, driving fast, or trying to beat a train)
2. Experience seeking (travel, unusual friends, drug experimentation)
3. Disinhibition (“letting loose”)
4. Susceptibility to boredom (lower tolerance for repetition and sameness)
Being very high or very low in sensation seeking might cause problems in relationships with individuals who score toward the other extreme. This is true not just between partners or spouses but also between parent and child and therapist and patient. There might also be job difficulties for high-sensation seekers in routine clerical or assembly line jobs or for low-sensation seekers in highly challenging and variable occupations.
Here are two interesting questions:
1. If your answers to the brief quiz above indicate that you are a high-sensation seeker, what do you do to satisfy that urge, and what can you do to make sure it doesn’t get out of control?
2. If you are low in sensation seeking, has this trait interfered with some aspect of your life? If so, what could you do to improve your functioning in this area?
Carpenter, Siri. Visualizing Psychology, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2009..
Answer fully addresses all parts of question. Answer shows a degree of reflection and explanation. 2 page and apa format, use at least three or more references as appropriate.
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