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Sensation-seeking and the electrodermal orienting response in young and elderly females

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... Also, male athletes were more sensation seekers than female athletes. Plouffe (1986) in his research found that level of sensation seeking decrease with age until the sixties in both sex. In comparison of sensation seeking among youth and elderly females, he revealed that scores of elderly women in sensation seeking scale were half of the youth. ...
... The results of present study showed that there is meaningful difference statistically between musicians and visual artists (p<0105) and that sensation seeking of musicians is lower than visual artists. This finding was in accordance with the study of Plouffe (1986), Haghighi et al. (2003), Richards (1993) and also inconsistence with Zuckerman (1979), Paikar (1998), andHartman (1992). Another finding of this study was that a statistically meaningful difference between musicians and dramatic artists (p<0.01) was found. ...
... This result means that sensation seeking of musicians is lower than dramatic artists. This finding is consistence with Plouffe (1986), Marchant and Wilson (1992), Gundersheim (1987), and inconsistence with Merten and Fescher (1999) and Zuckerman (1979). Finally, this research showed that dramatic and visual artists have similar sensation seeking (p>0.05). ...
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The current study compares sensation seeking among musicians, imaginary, and dramatic artists in the city of Shahrekord, Iran. In order to achieve the goals of research, 105 participants were selected in the form of cumulative multi-stage sampling from the statistical community and the personal information questionnaires, Zuckerman's sensation seeking was carried out. F proportion has been calculated using analysis of variance and the comparison of sensation seeking grade averages in three groups of artists led to statistically meaningful result(F = 7.53), p<0.05. Pair comparisons showed that musicians had less sensation seeking than visual and dramatic artists(respectively p<0.05, p<0.01). Also, dramatic and visual artists had similar sensation seeking(p>0.05). (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Huseyin Uzunboylu
... Thus, individuals high in sensation seeking would be expected to show a reduced level of skin conductance arousal during rest. This relationship was demonstrated by Plouffe and Stelmack (1986), who found a negative correlation between sensation seeking and skin conductance level in young females. Although not directly measuring sensation seeking, introverts (presumably low in sensation seeking) have been shown to reach their optimal level of arousal earlier than extroverts (presumably higher in sensation seeking; Smith, 1983) and extroverts have shown lower skin conductance levels than introverts regardless of experimental condition (Smith, Rockwell-Tischer, & Davidson, 1986). ...
... Also mentioned previously is that the participants were tested at an age when both sensation seeking and antisocial behavior are likely to be at their highest. In past research, a correlation was found between sensation seeking and skin conductance arousal at rest, but only in young females and not older females (Plouffe & Stelmack, 1986). Thus, the current results may be specific only to the adolescent sample used here and may not generalize across the age range. ...
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Low tonic skin conductance level (SCL) has been related, inconsistently, to both delinquency and sensation-seeking. This study tests the hypothesis that there is an interaction such that high sensation seeking delinquents, in particular, have low SCLs. Participants consisted of 335 boys from the Pittsburgh Youth Study classified as serious delinquents or controls based upon 10 years of prospectively collected self-report delinquency data. Participants' skin conductance was evaluated at age 16 along with several personality and neuropsychological measures. Both delinquency and sensation seeking were characterized by low SCL. However, there was no evidence to suggest that the presence of both of these factors together lead to especially low skin conductance levels. This finding is not explained by differences between the groups on measures of negative emotionality, IQ, socioeconomic status, or impulsivity.
... Thus, skin conductance level (SCL) and skin conductance responses (SCRs) are used to provide indices of tonic and phasic arousal (e.g., Fowles, 1980;Boucsein, 1992). Studies focusing on tonic arousal, as indexed by SCL, observed a lower SCL in high SS individuals compared to low SS individuals (e.g., Gatzke-Kopp et al., 2002;Plouffe and Stelmack, 1986) supporting the notion that arousal level is lower in high SS individuals. Likewise, SRC discriminates between high and low SS individuals. ...
... Moreover, a similar analysis focusing on prestimulus HR level showed that high Imp-SS individuals had lower HR levels than low Imp-SS individuals. The latter observations are adding to the pattern of findings suggesting that Imp-SS is related to autonomic arousal (e.g., Gatzke-Kopp et al., 2002;Kohn, 1987;Plouffe and Stelmack, 1986). ...
Article
This study focused on autonomic responding in participants who scored high vs. low on the Neuroticism-Anxiety (N-Anx) and Impulsive-Sensation Seeking (Imp-SS) dimensions of the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire--Form III. Participants were presented with series of tones (standards, deviants and novels) and they received a mild electric shock (one, two or three pulses) at each 15th tone. Resting pre-stimulus skin conductance level (SCL) and heart rate (HR) level was recorded, as well as the skin conductance response (SCR) and (anticipatory) HR response to the electric stimuli. The autonomic measures differentiated between high- vs. low Imp-SS participants but failed to discriminate between high- vs. low N-Anx participants, with the exception that high N-Anx participants showed smaller SCRs on some trials compared to the low N-Anx participants. High Imp-SS had a lower pre-stimulus SCL and smaller SCRs to deviant stimuli compared to low Imp-SS participants. Additionally, their HR acceleration was smaller in anticipation of the first and the deviant tones whereas their deceleratory response was larger relative to the HR changes observed for the low Imp-SS participants. This pattern of findings was taken to suggest that high Imp-SS participants are more arousable and less prone to defensive reactions to novel or aversive stimulation.
... The literature on trait anxiety suggests that anxious individuals are chronically more aroused on the one hand, and avoid risk and uncertainty on the other (Eysenck, 1992 ); thus, high arousal is naturally associated with risk aversion. In support of this prediction, studies have shown that high sensation seekers exhibit lower galvanic skin response (GSR) in response to various stimuli (Stelmack et al., 1983; Plouffe and Stelmack, 1986) and even at rest (Gatzke-Kopp et al., 2002). We propose that the association between tonic arousal and risk taking is moderated by the presence of losses in the experience of risk. ...
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The construct of risk taking is studied through the prism of the relation between tonic arousal and risk taking behavior. Several theories have proposed that high aroused individuals tend to exhibit risk aversion. We posit that this arousal-behavior association is activated much more strongly in risks with losses, as losses increase arousal and trigger relevant traits associated with the sensitivity to risk. In three studies we examined risk taking in experience-based decision tasks, with either token losses or relative-losses (in the gain domain). In Study 1 we found a negative correlation between pre-task pupil diameter and risk taking in the loss domain but not in the gain domain. In Study 2 we re-analyzed a previous pupillometry dataset involving symmetric mixed gains and losses. We found that the negative correlation in this mixed condition emerged even while the participants did not show loss aversion. This finding was replicated in Study 3. Thus, the effect of losses on arousal provides sufficient conditions for the moderation of the tonic arousal-behavior association. The findings suggest an important role for losses in the psychological and physiological experience of risk.
Chapter
Multiple theories exist that help our understanding of the emergence, development and trajectories of juvenile crime. This chapter examines the creation and refinement of some of the most influential theories of delinquency. Crime and delinquency are presented from historical and contemporary perspectives. Macro-level (e.g., Strain) and individual-level (e.g., Moffitt’s dual taxonomy) theories of delinquency provide a framework to better understand current trends, risk factors and treatment and prevention efforts. The progression towards a more comprehensive theoretical framework is delineated.
Chapter
The third part of this book is dedicated to various applications of EDA recording. The aim is to provide a theoretical framework for the use of the different EDA parameters described in Chap. 2 as psychophysiological indicators in the appropriate fields. Since there are thousands of articles reporting EDA results (Sect. 1.1.3), their comprehensive description would go far beyond the limits of the present book. Instead, the focus will be on giving more detailed information especially for studies which enlighten either methodological issues or provide support for interpretation of results in the light of psychophysiological theories related to EDA.
Article
This article investigates how sensation seeking and age influence televison viewers' online information processing of substance-abuse public service announcements (PSAs). College students and adolescents viewed 30 PSAs that varied in terms of arousing content and production pacing. Dependent variables included substance use, self-reported emotional responses (valence and arousal), physiological responses (heart rate and skin conductance response), and recognition. Results show that high-sensation seekers prefer all messages, remember more, and exhibit lower arousal compared to low-sensation seekers. Adolescents remember more information from the PSAs than college students. All participants exhibit cognitive overload at the same point in time.
Article
This chapter focuses on the psychophysiological basis of personality. The study of the psychophysiological basis of personality took a major step forward in 1967 with the publication of Eysenck's “The Biological Basis of Personality.” The study of personality and psychophysiology must be based on rigorous theories of behavior. Both the personality and the physiological variables must be grounded in well-defined theoretical constructs connected to each other by an explicit syntax. Psychophysiological assessment must be thorough enough to allow adequate tests of hypotheses. This requires measurement of several body systems as well as measurement of several aspects of one system. Some aspects of a given system may correlate with personality measures more highly than others. The study of personality and psychophysiology has shown a relatively low level of replication of findings. This has been due in large part to the lack of comparability of methods used in various programs. The study of personality through its connections with physiological processes rests on a solid basis of previous research and theory, and it still presents a unique challenge for those who wish to conduct careful theory-driven research on complex processes.
Article
The concepts of arousal and activation have had a confused history in Psychophysiology, and there is no widely accepted consensus on their usefulness in the field. This study aimed to explore whether these concepts could be separated in terms of their effects on the phasic Orienting Response (OR) and behavioral performance. We defined arousal at a particular time to be the energetic state at that time, reflected in electrodermal activity and measured by skin conductance level. Task-related activation was defined as the change in arousal from a resting baseline to the task situation. A continuous performance task was used with normal children. The magnitude of the mean phasic OR elicited by target stimuli was dependent on arousal, but not on task-related activation. Two performance measures (mean reaction time and number of errors) improved with increasing activation, but not with arousal. These data suggest the value of conceptualizing arousal and activation as separable aspects of the energetics of physiological and behavioral responding in future studies of attention, cognition, and emotion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The notion that affective responses differentiate high from low sensation-seekers was investigated. Male subjects with extremely high (N=13) or low (N=13) scores on Form V of the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) were presented with tones of 60, 80, and 100 dB in successive blocks of 10 tones each. Although measures of arousal (verbal self-reports and physiological measures of the orienting response) did not differentiate between high and low sensation-seekers, a self-report measure of pleasure did: Whereas reported pleasure of the low sensation-seekers began high and declined as tones became successively louder, the reported pleasure of the high sensation-seekers remained more constant across the blocks of tones.
Article
Monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity was determined in blood from 113 normal subjects ranging from 21 to 84 years of age and in hindbrain obtained at autopsy from 26 patients. MAO activity correlated highly with increasing age for all three sources of enzyme studied (hindbrain, plasma, and platelets). Women were found to have significantly higher mean platelet and plasma MAO activity than men. The tendency for greater MAO activity in women and with aging is intriguing because it is consistent with clinical observations about the incidence of depressive illness. Increased enzyme activity related to aging and sex may be a biologic factor that, in association with Psychological and social stresses, predisposes certain individuals to the development of depression.
Article
A large sample of readers of a popular psychology magazine took the Sensation Seeking Scale (form V) and filled out a personal data form. The information in the data form was used to examine the relationship between SSS scores and demographic and experience variables. Sex and age showed strong relationships with the SSS. Education and occupation of the subjects and their parents showed lesser relationships with the SSS and primarily in females. Non-believers in conventional religion and infrequent church-goers had higher SSS scores than those who identify with such religions and attend church regularly. Smokers had higher scores than non-smokers although the relationship with amount of smoking was not a linear one. Driving habits of speeding related strongly to sensation seeking in a linear fashion.
Article
Reviews the trait of sensation seeking and the biological phenomena associated with it: strength of the initial orienting reflex, augmenting vs reducing of the average evoked potential, MAO, and gonadal hormones (both androgen and estrogens). Both psychological and biological measures have retest reliabilities that are characteristic of stable traits. Twin studies show moderate to strong genetic control of the personality and of several biological measures. Several behavioral characteristics that are associated with the trait in humans are also related to the biological traits in animals, including sociability and social dominance, reactivity to novel situations, and play. In humans, sexual experience, interest in new situations, experiences with drugs, manic-depressive tendencies, and psychopathy are associated with both sensation seeking and its biological correlates. Age and sex differences show some parallels and some differences between sensation seeking and its biological correlates. (6 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Two samples of male students (N = 25, and N = 51) and a small sample of female students (N = 7) were administered the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS), and blood samples were drawn on two occasions to determine plasma levels of androgens and oestrogens. Reliable and significant simple and partial correlations were found between the sex hormones and the SSS subscale, Disinhibition. Partial correlations simultaneously controlled for height, weight, age, and recency of orgasm.
Article
Young and elderly women were compared on electrodermal measures of the orienting response (OR) to picture stimuli presented during the study phase of a free recall task. Responses were also recorded during a subsequent simple habituation paradigm which was designed to investigate stimulus priming effects. Young subjects recalled more pictures than the elderly and both groups remembered more pictures with common word names than pictures with uncommon verbal labels. Young and older subjects displayed larger skin conductance responses to recalled pictures, especially to recalled uncommon pictures. Older women, however, displayed consistently smaller SCRs than the young. Stimulus priming was observed on the first trial of habituation training where not-recalled pictures evoked smaller SCRs than pictures not shown in the study phase. There were no age differences in habituation across trials. In general, the results indicated that the electrodermal OR is functionally related to recall performance and that the age decrement in recall may be attributed to reduced cognitive effort in the elderly.
Article
The study compared normal males who scored at the extremes of Disinhibition (a subscale of the Sensation Seeking Scale) on gonadal hormones. High disinhibitors were higher than lows on testosterone, estradiol and estrone, but not on progesterone. A broader range of personality traits, attitudes and experience was factor analyzed and correlated with the hormone measurements. Two large factors were found: (1) stable extraversion vs neurotic introversion; (2) social deviancy vs social conformity. Testosterone loaded positively on the stable extraversion factor and estradiol loaded on the social deviancy factor. Measures of sensation seeking, impulsivity and heterosexual experience tended to correlate positively with both testosterone and estradiol, and persons low on both of these hormones were characterized by a high degree of self control and social conformity.
Article
Extraversion and psychoticism are thought to relate inversely to electrodermal response amplitude. Paradoxically, sensation-seeking scales, which correlate positively with extraversion and psychoticism, have shown a positive relation to electrodermal response amplitude. In the present inquiry, inverse relationships were obeserved for extraversion and psychoticism with the electrodermal response to visual stimuli. Sensation seeking was also negatively related to the magnitude of the initial electrodermal response to pictures. A lowered response to words for low sensation seekers was observed that appeared to be influenced by skin conductance level.
Article
Preliminaty findings from an on-going study of monozygotic twins reared apart (MZA) and data from a larger sample of twins reared together (MZT and DZT), indicate a surprisingly strong influence of genetic variation on aptitudes, psychophysiological characteristics, personality traits and even dimensions of attitude and interest. For some of these variables, MZT and MZA twins show high intra-class correlations while DZT twins are no more similar than pairs of unrelated persons. It is suggested that such traits are “emergenic,” i.e., that they are determined by the interaction--rather than the sum--of genetic influences. Emergenic traits, although perhaps strongly genetic, will not tend to run in families and for this reason have been neglected by students of behavior genetics. For this and several other listed reasons, wider use of twins in psychological research is strongly recommended.
Article
This study replicates and extends earlier work by finding that low levels of platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity correlate with sensation seeking, high ego strength, positive affect, and high leisure time activity levels, somewhat similar psychological correlates also being found for plasma amine oxidase activity. Although there are several ways in which a schizophrenia/MAO relationship may exist and still be congruent with the present data, these results pose difficulties for theories which link low MAO activity levels specifically to schizophrenia. Nothing in the present findings, however, is incongruent with the possibility of an association between low platelet MAO activity and bipolar affective disorder.
Article
The relationship between sensation seeking and the orienting reflex (OR) using skin conductance change is investigated in two experiments. In Experiment I, high sensation seekers gave a greater initial OR In novel visual stimuli while not differing in habituation on subsequent trials. In Experiment II. the paradigm was extended to include auditory as well as visual stimuli. Again, high sensation seekers were found to be more arousable with respect to initial ORs while not differing in habituation rates. The results suggest that sensation seekers may be characterized as having strong excitatory CNS processes. In Experiment II, anxiety (trait and state) was also related to the OR. There were no effects due to trait anxiety but state anxiety did yield significant differences. The more highly anxious (state) subjects had weaker initial ORs than lows in both novel tones, but not to repeated tones. The findings with state anxiety are consistent with findings by others using anxiety neurotics as subjects.
Article
The Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) correlated positively and significantly with MMPI measures of impulsivity, extrapunitiveness, and psychopathy, and with scales of overt and covert hostility in 83 male psychiatric offenders. However, diagnosed psychopaths did not score significantly higher on SSS than nonpsychopathic offenders. Evidence suggests that while sensation seeking is related to psychopathic personality characteristics, it may also be common among certain psychotics. With this qualification, the results indicate an association of sensation seeking with impulsivity and psychopathic personality traits. (21 ref.)
Article
Reports 3 studies relating individual differences in the Sensation-Seeking scale (SSS) score to various measures. Using hospitalized alcoholics, hospital employees, and college students as Ss, the following relationships were found: (1) sensation-seeking was positively related to educational attainment, intelligence level, and perceptual, spatial, and numerical aptitudes, and was negatively related to age; and (2) no relationship was found between the SSS score and rural-urban factors. Results support the validity of the SSS and have implications concerning the nature of stimulus-seeking motivation and its role in human behavior.
Article
Three experiments were designed to investigate the role of the orienting response (OR) in the recognition memory for pictures and words. In the first experiment (n = 60), pictures which were shown to have a high frequency of correct recognition in an independent analysis of recognition memory evoked larger initial ORs than words and low recognition frequency pictures. In experiment 2 (n = 56) subjects participated in the recognition memory task and then they received 12 repetitions of a picture or word stimulus which they either recognized or failed to recognize. The magnitude of the initial electrodermal OR was larger for the not recognized than for the recognized stimuli. This finding, which is a stimulus priming effect, was replicated in experiment 3 (n = 40). In experiments 1 and 2, recovery of the OR following a habituation series was induced by a change to the alternate representational form of the stimulus. Differences between the picture-word and word-picture transitions were not consistent between experiments. Overall, the experiments indicate that OR magnitude is influenced by the availability of the stimulus memory trace, with increased amplitude determined by less accessible memory traces.
Article
This study tested the hypothesis that the orienting response (OR) is one of the biological correlates of sensation seeking. Skin conductance (SC), heart rate (HR), and peripheral vasomotor (VM) activity were recorded while ten 60dB, 1000 Hz, slow-rise-time tones were presented to male subjects with high (N = 16) and low (N = 15) total scores on Form V of the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS). There were no significant differences between groups in the SC or VM responses to the first (novel) tone or in the rate at which these responses habituated. The HR response to the first tone was deceleration (an OR) for the high SS group (as well as for a high Disinhibition subgroup), while the response of the low SS group (and a low Disinhibition subgroup) included what appeared to be startle components—a short-latency accelerative response that habituated rapidly on subsequent trials. It is suggested that individuals with low sensation seeking tendencies may be unusually prone to startle, and that subsequent research on the biological correlates of sensation seeking should take into account individual differences in the tendency to give orienting, defensive, and startle responses.
Theoretical formulations: I
  • Zuckerman
Sensation seeking in England and America: cross cultural, age and sex comparisons
  • Zuckerman