Motivation and Novelty

I found the different motivations behind novelty seeking that came up in class on Thursday interesting. Stephanie’s pleasure in exploring new things because they are “amazing” versus my tendencies to explore new things because I simply get extremely bored with the old seemed like quite a contrast and also seemed like very different mental processes. And yet, these dramatically different motivations still lead to similar behaviors in terms of seeking new things. I tried to find research on the motivation behind novelty seeking. Sex, drugs, and robots seemed to be the real world applications (guess what, if you have high motivation to seek novel internal sensations you are also likely to do drugs, wow) but they weren’t exactly the area in which I was interested. It seems like this could have some good applications in marketing. I guess if the resulting behavior is the same, it’s not worth studying? Does it really matter why you choose to by that new CD?

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4 thoughts on “Motivation and Novelty

  1. You mentioned that novelty-seekers are more likely to do drugs. I wonder if anyone has looked at the difference between those who have tried drugs once or twice and those who regularly use drugs. I feel like a desire for novelty would make someone more apt to try a drug once and then stop. Doing the same drug every day would lose its novelty rather fast and I feel like that experience would be unsatisfying to the novelty-seeker. Perhaps those with high novelty-seeking are less apt to become addicts? Or maybe the addictive power is so strong they aren’t able to walk away, even if it gets boring. I don’t know much about addiction, but I think it would be interesting to compare the personalities of addicts vs. casual users.

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  2. Interesting point Kelsey. Depending on the drug, I would have to disagree. Lots of drugs produce different effects every time you use them – different hallucinations, highs, and sensations. In this case, those who seek novelty could easily become addicts.

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  3. I also found this an interesting idea. I was trying to correlate it to smokers, because is definitely an addiction. I asked a nicotine addict about novelty seeking and it seemed like there was never a sense of boredom but even if there was, it would be unlikely to walk away from the addiction. There is a funny way that nicotine and addiction messes with the rational thinking of addicts. I wonder if that has any effect on novelty seeking.

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  4. The three of you make really interesting points. I think that novelty seekers seek novelty because there is a reward system at work here. We also know that that reward system is intertwined with the nucleus accumbens. It would be interesting to see what goes on with the nucleus accumbens when novelty seekers buy a new CD versus do drugs. My guess is that there will be very different responses since drugs are chemicals while music itself is not a chemical (although our response to it is…).

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