Novelty Seeking

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In psychology, novelty seeking (NS) is a personality trait associated with exploratory activity in response to novel stimulation, impulsive decision making, extravagance in approach to reward cues, and quick loss of temper and avoidance of frustration. It is considered one of the temperament dimensions of personality. Like the other temperament dimensions, it has been found to be highly heritable. High NS has been suggested to be related to high dopaminergic activity (which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior). When novelty seeking is defined as a decision process (i.e in terms of the tradeoff between foregoing a familiar choice option in favor of deciding to explore a novel choice option), dopamine is directly shown to increase novelty seeking behavior. Specifically, blockade of the dopamine transporter, causing a rise in extracelluar dopamine levels, increases the propensity of monkeys to select novel over familiar choice options.

A research study found that novelty seeking had inverse relationships with other temperament and character dimensions, particularly harm avoidance and to a more moderate extent self-directedness and self-transcendence. Novelty seeking is positively associated with the five factor model trait of extraversion and to a lesser extent openness to experience and is inversely associated with conscientiousness. Novelty seeking is positively related to Impulsive sensation seeking and with psychoticism in Eysenck’s model.

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