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Sensation Seeking and Behavior Disorders

Marvin Zuckerman, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(5):502-503. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800290124017.
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To the Editor.—  Cloninger1 has recently presented an interesting proposal for classifications of personality variants based on monoamine functions. One of his three postulated dimensions of personality is termed novelty seeking. A reading of the description of this dimension suggests that it is practically identical to the trait dimension termed sensation seeking,2 defined as "the need for varied, novel and complex sensations and experiences and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experience." This trait has been studied for 23 years beginning with the report of the development of the first form of the Sensation Seeking Scale in 1964. It is regrettable that Cloninger has ignored the voluminous literature on sensation seeking2,3 and its biologic correlates3-5 and relations to behavior disorders, including antisocial personality, alcohol and other drug abuse, and manicdepressive disorder. The omission of this large body of research


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