BASE Jumpers Low on Dopamine

SkydivingMy friend, Grant Kaye, shared this article about the psychology of base jumpers. It mentions that base jumpers and other risk-takers tend to have lower levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, and that risk-taking activities help boost these levels. This appears to be a characteristic of the Type T personality.

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  • To put that ridiculously sensationalistic NZ article in perspective, here’s some statistics from the good folks at the National Safety Council on dying.

    Here’s the odds of dying doing anything:
    http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm
    (numbers)
    http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds_dying.jpg
    (picture)

    BASE is as safe as the jumpers make it. The ones that I do are all still alive cause they know what they are doing. Sure they have been hurt, but so have we all doing the things that we love, if those things have an element of risk. To me, anything worth doing does – no risk, no reward. Seems cliche, but the alternative to me is living a sedentary life in seclusion and safety and that’s unthinkable.

  • Knob

    Type T personalities can also be considered “thrill” seekers (hence the T)as opposed to “risk” takers meaning they seek stimulus but it does not always have to be dangerous. BASE Jumpers probably consider themselves risk “minimizers” as they must be as safe as possible or they die. Other thrill seeking behavior reflected by Type T personalities includes everything from riding the Tilt – a -whirl at the carnival to smoking marijuana, neither of which is particularly dangerous but is still stimulus seeking bahavior.