Zald says that there are positive and negative aspects to the novelty seeking personality trait.
“Thrill seeking is one of the things that leads people to explore new things, to discover new things,” says Zald. “The world would be a boring place if we didn’t have people who were willing to take the risks because they were so interested or drawn to the new and exciting.”
But people with the novelty seeking trait are also at a higher risk of doing drugs. Zald wants to do further studies to find out why some people take such deadly risks and others find ways to balance their need for excitement in healthier ways.
And Zald has a word of advice for parents: “For a child who is a thrill seeker, what you really want to do is direct them into activities which will give them those thrills. For instance having them learn to do rock climbing would be a good example. And if they can get those thrills through something where they maintain a reasonable level of safety, that may be a draw that is enough for them so they never feel the need or desire to start experimenting with drugs.”
Publication: Journal of Neuroscience
Authors: David H. Zald, Ronald L. Cowan, Patrizia Riccardi, Ronald M. Baldwin, M. Sib Ansari, Rui Li, Evan S. Shelby, Clarence E. Smith, Maureen McHugo, and Robert M. Kessler
Research funded by: National Institute of Drug Abuse
Elsewhere on the Web:
How Stuff Works: How Your Brain Works
The Science Behind Drug Abuse