Polymorphism in the human dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) exon III has been associated in some but not all studies of the human personality trait of Novelty Seeking. We searched for polymorphisms in the 5' region of DRD4 and identified six polymorphisms as follows: -1217G Ins/Del, -809G/A, -616C/G, -603T Ins/Del, -602(G)8-9, and -521C/T. Associations between these polymorphisms and personality traits measured by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) were investigated in 86 healthy Japanese volunteers. The -521C/T polymorphism was significantly associated with Novelty Seeking (P = 0.0001). Subjects with the C/C genotype exhibited the highest Novelty Seeking scores and those with the T/T genotype exhibited the lowest. A transient expression method revealed that the T variant of the C-521T polymorphism reduces transcriptional efficiency. The present study suggests a contribution of dopamine D4 receptor availability to individual differences in Novelty Seeking behavior. Molecular Psychiatry (2000) 5, 64-69.