Call adventurous folk what you may - adrenaline junkies, thrill seekers - but some people just love the rush of danger and some would prefer a day at a museum or walking on a beach.
I like those activities too, but I really like the adrenaline rush of doing something terrifying! I loved white water rafting, hot air ballooning - I've hung a massive snake around my neck and jumped out of a plane. The best was jumping off a ledge in a rain forest with nothing but an bungee cord tied to my ankles. Seeing the ground coming up so fast made my head spin and my heart lurch - with delight! I do plan on bungee jumping again because it was the most frightening of them all. Therefore a retake is a must!
The university of Kentucky and Perdue University collaborated on a study to examine the brains of "high sensation seekers" and "low sensation seekers". Having filled out surveys and questionnaires, the subjects were then shown images and MRI scans were taken of their brains. Banal images such as pictures of farm animals were shown, as were more graphic images. The subjects who were considered high sensation seekers registered changes in the area of the brain called the insula while watching the more graphic visuals- this is the area of the brain also connected to addiction. Those who were low sensation seekers registered instead in the frontal cortex - the part of the brain that manages emotion.
Incidentally, the insula is also linked to anti-social behavior. I declare I'm fairly social! But I do crave that adrenaline. The fear factor for me is a fantastic rush.
These findings are published in this months Psychological Science.
Do you get a rush when doing something adventurous? Or do you prefer living a little further away from the edge?
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