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Extraversion and Sensation Seeking


30% of HSP are extroverts. HSPs are similar to other extroverts, yet unlike most, they may get overwhelmed by stimulation and need to withdraw and recharge. This may lead others to believe they are neurotic or fragile in spite of their sociability.

Elaine Aron believes that you are not born being introvert or extraverted it is not something that we learn or adopt according to our social/family experience. Whereas, she believes sensation seekers have that trait at birth. Therefore, sensation seekers can be extravert or introvert. Both will be very careful to ensure safety is a priority.


Highly sensation seekers (HSS)

Sensation seeking in the HSP can be described as ‘one foot on the brake, and the other on the gas’ This aspect of HSP was established by Marvin Zuckerman (1994) who defined it as


“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.”


These include:


Physical adventure: a desire to engage in risky activities such as sports or other physical activities that provide unusual sensations of speed or defiance of gravity, such as parachuting, scuba diving, or skiing.


Experience adventure: seeking of novel sensations and experiences through the mind and senses, as in arousing music, art, and travel, and through social nonconformity, as in association with groups on the fringes of conventional society.


Disinhibiting: sensation seeking through social activities like parties, social drinking, and sex.


Boredom intolerance:  repetitive experience of any kind, including routine work, stimulating conversation.


There is a conflict in HSP as they are constrained by the need to plan and assess consequences, yet have a desire to seek out sensation. The main issue may arise with the  ‘risk taking and impulsivity’ aspects.


It is therefore important that HSP with HSS have a high level of understanding of this trait and self awareness.


For those with the drive to explore, create, and experience new and novel stimulation the rewards may be discovery of new technologies, new ideas, and new processes.

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