Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Comfort with impermanence or "novelty-seeking" gets revised.

“Novelty-seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age,” says C. Robert Cloninger, the psychiatrist who developed personality tests for measuring this trait. The problems with novelty-seeking showed up in his early research in the 1990s; the advantages have become apparent after he and his colleagues tested and tracked thousands of people in the United States, Israel and Finland.
“It can lead to antisocial behavior,” he says, “but if you combine this adventurousness and curiosity with persistence and a sense that it’s not all about you, then you get the kind of creativity that benefits society as a whole.”...

Fans of this trait are calling it “neophilia” and pointing to genetic evidence of its importance as humans migrated throughout the world. In her survey of the recent research, “New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change,” the journalist Winifred Gallagher argues that neophilia has always been the quintessential human survival skill, whether adapting to climate change on the ancestral African savanna or coping with the latest digital toy from Silicon Valley.
“Nothing reveals your personality more succinctly than your characteristic emotional reaction to novelty and change over time and across many situations,” Ms. Gallagher says. “It’s also the most important behavioral difference among individuals.” Drawing on the work of Dr. Cloninger and other personality researchers, she classifies people as neophobes, neophiles and, at the most extreme, neophiliacs. (To classify yourself, you can take a quiz on the Well blog.) 

 The quiz is actually here. I scored in the "Curious" category myself.  Evidently I guess the practice pays off after a while, because otherwise I'd probably be in the "dangerous" category.


Petteri Sulonen said...

Same here. Not sure if it's the practice, or just age. If I had taken the test in my twenties, I'd probably have been well into 'dangerous' territory.

Mumon said...

Could be a combination of both. :-)