Brief Report

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 930-934

First online:

Sensation Seeking and Visual Selective Attention in Adults with HIV/AIDS

  • David J. HardyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Loyola Marymount UniversityDepartment of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California Email author 
  • , Steven A. CastellonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of CaliforniaVA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
  • , Charles H. HinkinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of CaliforniaVA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
  • , Andrew J. LevineAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University of California
  • , Mona N. LamAffiliated withVA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare SystemDepartment of Psychology, University of California

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Abstract

The association between sensation seeking and visual selective attention was examined in 31 adults with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Sensation seeking was measured with Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scale Form V (SSS-V). Selective attention was assessed with a perceptual span task, where a target letter-character must be identified in a quickly presented array of nontarget letter-characters. As predicted, sensation seeking was strongly associated (R 2 = .229) with perceptual span performance in the array size 12 condition, where selective attention demands were greatest, but not in the easier conditions. The Disinhibition, Boredom Susceptibility, and Experience Seeking subscales of the SSS-V were associated with span performance. It is argued that personality factors such as sensation seeking may play a significant role in selective attention and related cognitive abilities in HIV positive adults. Furthermore, sensation seeking differences might explain certain inconsistencies in the HIV neuropsychology literature.

Keywords

HIV AIDS Cognition Personality Performance Individual differences