Yesterday while driving around at lunch time, I caught the tail end of the midday radio show Think, by Krys Boyd on Dallas’ public radio station, it was about novelty and our propensit as individuals to either seek novelty (neophiles or neophiliacs, on the extreme end!) or to shun it (neophobes).
“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. … “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.”
What’s New? Exuberance for Novelty Has Benefits, New York Times, by John Tierney
The show particularly caught my attention because the interviewee one of my favorite non-fiction authors, Winifred Gallagher about her new book, New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change. I’ve written about her book The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions before – here and here.
I had an opportunity to meet Krys Boyd yesterday evening and to chat with her about the interview. She said she enjoyed the book and the interview a lot and told me that there was quiz online to gauge where one falls on the spectrum of neophobe to neophiliac. Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was to find the quiz!
Take the quiz here – The Well Quiz: How Adventurous Are You?
I scored a 47. According to the quiz, I’m a bona fide neophile. While I do weigh the risks against the rewards, I also “tilt toward thrill-seeking” since I’m at the high end of the middle range (35-49 points). I like that. I’d definitely have to be coaxed (or pushed!) to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but I’m game to go to Colombia alone. I guess I’m not literally curious to a fault, but close. :)
What about you? How adventurous are you? Anyone up for sharing your score?
Think Podcast on iTunes: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change