SXSW 2021

Inside the Minds of Thrill-Seekers


Most of us crave new experiences. Newness tugs at us. But what about those who can't seem to get enough? They jump out of planes, climb skyscrapers, and will eat anything, prompting others to ask 'what's wrong' with them. They are also on the front line of the pandemic in healthcare roles. These are high sensation-seekers, and they crave intense experiences, despite the risks. They may appear to have a death wish or an addiction to adrenaline rushes: But do they? In this talk, Dr. Carter describes the world of the high sensation-seeking personality, exploring the history, lifestyle, psychology, and neuroscience. He will cover the role of high-sensation seeking in our culture and discuss how high sensation-seekers connect with themselves and others even during a time of disconnection.

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  1. High sensation-seeking or thrill-seeking has both psychological as well as neuropsychological explanations.
  2. Although it seems as if thrill-seeking is a new cultural phenomenon, it has been with us for a very long time.
  3. We can learn how to connect to ourselves and others by understanding high-sensation seekers.



Kenneth Carter, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology, Emory University

Meta Information:

  • Tags: Connection & Culture
  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Presentation
  • Track: Connection in Disconnection
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner

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