Personality Test and Software to Measure Arousal Seeking
Stimulus, or Change Seeking, and Risk Taking)
Arousal Seeking Tendency Defined
Individuals who have a tendency to seek arousal have some or all of the
following attributes: they like and seek out change, variety, activity,
stimulation, unpredictable people and situations, and risk.
The Arousal Seeking Tendency Scale (MAST) is a measure of individual
differences in seeking arousal, stimulus seeking, or change seeking. The
version currently in use (Mehrabian, 1994) was originally developed by
Mehrabian and Russell (1973) and was subsequently revised by Mehrabian
(1978). It contains 32 items and subjects report the degree of their
agreement or disagreement with each item using a 9-point
The Arousal Seeking Tendency Scale appears to be relevant for studying addictive personality and also has been used extensively in studies of Optimum Stimulation Level (OSL). It is strongly recommended that studies of OSL also include the Mehrabian Trait Arousability Scale along with the MAST (e.g., in studies of shopping behavior, store preferences, voting preferences)
Arousal Seeking Tendency Scale Software
Software for administering, scoring, and interpreting the Arousal Seeking Tendency Scale is available. It runs on IBM-compatible operating systems and provides (a) total score, equivalent percentile score,equivalent z-score, and interpretation of these scores for each person tested and (b) a database of scores for all individuals tested. The software is extremely
easy to use and is password protected so that the Administrator can control access to the database
of results. In this way, individuals being tested cannot have access to the results, unless the
Administrator chooses to report such results to them.
- I sometimes look for ways to change my daily routine.
- I don't like to have lots of activity around me.
- Administration: does not require tester to be present; can be
used with individuals or groups
- Test format: questionnaire, 32 items
- Appropriate population: English fluency, ages 14 and older
- Time required for administration: approximately 10 minutes
- Scoring: hand scored version yields a single total-scale score; software yields total score, percentile score, and z-score
- Manual: contains complete scale, scoring directions, norms
- Background literature: can be found in Mehrabian and Russell
(1973), Mehrabian (1978), Mehrabian and O'Reilly (1980), and
Steenkamp and Baumgartner (1992).
- Possible uses for experimental research and hypothesis testing: To identify persons who will pay careful attention to routine and to repetitive tasks (low arousal seekers), to identify those who, once trained, will be content to do the same things for long periods (low arousal seekers), to identify persons (high arousal seekers)
who will be ingenious in devising new routines and excitement for others.
Reliability and Validity Data
Reliability and validity data for the Arousal Seeking Tendency Scale (MAST) were reported by Baumgartner and Steenkamp (1994).
Baumgartner, H., & Steenkamp, J. E. M. (1994). An investigation into
the construct validity of the Arousal-Seeking Tendency Scale, Version
II. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 54, 993-1001.
Mehrabian, A. (1978). Characteristic individual reactions to preferred
and unpreferred environments. Journal of Personality, 46,
Mehrabian, A. (1994). Manual for the Arousal Seeking Tendency
Scale (MAST). (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa
Road, Monterey, CA, USA 93940).
Mehrabian, A. (1996). Pleasure-arousal-dominance: A general
framework for describing and measuring individual differences in
temperament. Current Psychology, 14, 261-292.
Mehrabian, A., & O'Reilly, E. (1980). Analysis of personality measures
in terms of basic dimensions of temperament. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 38, 492-503.
Mehrabian, A., & Russell, J.A. (1973). A measure of arousal seeking
tendency. Environment and Behavior, 5, 315-333.
Mehrabian, A., & Russell, J.A. (1974). An approach to environmental
psychology. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA.
Steenkamp, J.E.M., & Baumgartner, H. (1992). The role of optimum
stimulation level in exploratory consumer behavior. Journal of
Consumer Research, 19, 434-448.