Relationship between "strength of the nervous system" and the need for stimulation

Stephen M. Sales, Raymond M. Guydosh, William Iacono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Conducted 2 studies with college students (N = 81) of the relationship between the need for stimulation, as measured by the kinesthetic aftereffects task, and tendencies to "reduce" or "augment" incoming stimuli. In Study 1 Ss with high auditory thresholds (who presumably reduce incoming stimulation) were particularly unresponsive to simple stimuli. In both simple and moderately complex stimulus situations, high-threshold Ss were more bored and expressed less enjoyment and interest than did low-threshold Ss. These "insensitive" Ss were particularly likely to drink coffee (a stimulant) and to have been born and raised in urban settings. In Study 2, high-threshold Ss appeared earlier for the experiment than did low-threshold Ss. They also placed more figures in a highly interactive social model setting before judging the setting overcrowded than did the more sensitive Ss. These results suggest that high-threshold Ss have a greater need for social stimulation. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1974


  • nervous system strength, need for stimulation, college students


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