Sensory processing sensitivity is negatively associated with sensation seeking
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Department of Psychology, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Elverum, Norway
Department of Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Gjovik, Norway
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Oslo, Norway
Submission date: 2023-08-28
Final revision date: 2023-12-18
Acceptance date: 2024-01-08
Online publication date: 2024-02-08
Corresponding author
Reidulf G. Watten   

Department of Psychology, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Elverum, Norway
This study investigated the relationship between sensory processing sensitivity and sensation seeking.

Participants and procedure:
The sample consisted of 625 subjects (n women = 225, n men = 400). Sensory processing sensitivity was assessed using the Highly Sensitive Person Scale (HSPS), and sensation seeking with the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking (AISS).

AISS accounted for 11.1% of the variance in HSPS. Regression analyses revealed a negative association between AISS Intensity and HSPS. There was no significant association between AISS Novelty and HSPS. Men exhibited lower scores on HSPS but displayed higher scores on AISS Novelty and AISS Intensity compared to women.

We found gender differences and a negative association between sensory processing sensitivity and the intensity dimension of sensation seeking. The results confirm that HSPS captures the intensity of complex sensory stimulation. Sensory processing sensitivity and sensation seeking could be seen as theoretically connected and overlapping phenomena.

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