The Link Between Risk-Seeking and Creativity

Question: Is there a link between sensation-seeking and creativity?

\r\n

Marvin Zuckerman: There is, particularly for one type of sensation-seeking, we call it experience seeking, seeking sensation through the mind and the senses for one type of experience seeking. High sensation seekers are more prone to engage in divergent thinking. They don’t think in the conventional ways. They tend to think along unconventional lines. And this is a part of creativity. Creativity is the ability to think and do things in a way that haven’t been done before. Part of novelty-seeking, you might say. So, in a sense, they tend to be more creative if they have ability to be creative. When we think of creativity, we think of abilities. Many of the people on the streets who are drug dealers are very creative. They are creative criminally. They think of new ways of doing the things, you know. But we don’t call that creativity, even though it is creativity. So it depends on what – if you have the ability to pursue your divergent thinking along the lines that will result in the production of something whether it’s business, art or science. You have the ability plus the sensation-seeking that makes you more creative in what you’re doing.

\r\n

Question: Is there a link between sensation-seeking and anxiety?

\r\n

Marvin Zuckerman: Well actually there is no relationship between sensation-seeking and neuroticism or anxiety. You might think that’s funny because they seem to lack fear, but the kind of fear they lack is fear of physical harm. Neuroticism anxiety is based on a different kind of fear, mostly social fear. They don’t differ on that; they’re independent. That’s an independent trait, neuroticism. So you find that many high sensation seekers are high as are low and most are average in neuroticism. It’s that physical fear that they differ on. The high sensation seekers tend to; first of all, see things as less risky than lows. If you ask them, even something they’ve never tried before, if you say, “How risky is this?” The highs are going to say it’s riskier. Then when they do it, they demonstrate less fear arousal because fear arousal makes something unpleasant. Those who are not that high in sensation-seeking, they may try it under peer pressure or something and then they find that even though no harm comes to them they find it an unpleasant experience because of the fear that it arouses. So they’ll never do it again. They say, “Okay, I’ve done that, I’ll know not to go do it again.”

\r\n

Whereas, the highs value that kind of whatever fear they felt just gave a little kick to the experience and made it even more pleasurable, oddly enough. Because it was fearful, they overcame the fear and they experienced pleasure.

A psychologist explains why those equipped with a strong novelty-seeking gene tend to exhibit unconventional thinking—something that is clear as much in street criminals as scientists.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

This prophetic 1997 Jeff Bezos interview explains the genius behind Amazon

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He saw the innovative potential of the online marketplace.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less
Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
Surprising Science
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Keep reading Show less

TESS telescope has found eight new planets, six supernovae

It has found several bizarre planets outside of our solar system.

NASA/Kim Shiflett
Surprising Science
  • The Kepler program closed down in August, 2018, after nine and a half years of observing the universe.
  • Picking up where it left off, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has already found eight planets, three of which scientists are very excited about, and six supernovae.
  • In many ways, TESS is already outperforming Kepler, and researchers expect it to find more than 20,000 exoplanets over its lifespan.
Keep reading Show less