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People seem to love stuff like bungee jumping and sky-diving.
But what draws us to these scary life-threatening experiences?
Why do we want to jump off of stuff?
On May 16, 2015, Dean Potter, a celebrated extreme sportsman, and a fellow climber, Graham
Hunt; jumped off a 7,500 foot (2,285m) cliff in Yosemite National Park with the goal of
wingsuit flying through the rocky cliffs before parachuting to safety.
Both men crashed while trying to fly through an outcropping and were found dead many hours
BASE jumping is an acronym for buildings, antennas, spans (such as bridges) and Earth
(cliffs and mountaintops) -- all places to jump from while wearing a wingsuit, parachute
or both.
At least 257 people have died BASE jumping to date, according to a major BASE jumping
forum; and Potter, who was a major enthusiast for outdoor "extreme" sports, called BASE
jumping and free-climbing, "death-consequence" activities.
Aren't we all programmed to survive?
Why do we risk death for a thrill?
More than 800 people have died climbing the mountains of Nepal -- including Everest,;
442 from skydiving from 1998 to 2014 - and even scuba-diving sees about 80 deaths annually.
I mean, skateboarding had 30 deaths in 2012!
Psychologists believe we perform risky behaviors because of our fear response, and medical
researchers believe it has to do with the brain's reward systems; though both are true.
In a small study from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia; researchers explored
the psychological result of fear responses in extreme sports participants.
Fear is an important inborn response to perceived danger.
Your body's top priority is to preserve itself; fear is a way to motivate it to do so.
But for some people, overcoming fear was a meaningful and constructive event in their
They still EXPERIENCE fear, but it's not seen as a negative, but rather, a positive experience.
Potter wrote specifically, and poetically, about his experiences with fear, and how overcoming
that fear was transformative for him.
Unfortunately, that's not easily translatable for a general population -- instead we can
only look at how the chemicals in our brains surrounding fear go on to affect our behavior.
When jumping out of an airplane or free-climbing up a cliff, an almond-shaped set of neurons
in our brain called the amygdala releases hormones which quicken the heart, hone the
senses and prepare your body to flee or fight.
During this fear response, our brains' reward center releases large amounts of dopamine.
Studies have shown, dopamine, a powerful reward chemical for our bodies, is also connected
to the recollection of terror.
It's released when we eat, exercise, or talk to our friends and family, and reinforces
those healthy behaviors by making us feel good about doing those things.
But, massive dopamine release is associated with drug use, and addiction; which is how
extreme athletes and enthusiasts are often associated with junkies or addicts.
Extreme athletes provoke this fear response in themselves, experiencing the fear of death,
and enjoying the natural-high they get from the dopamine release that follows.
The problem is, the brain can get used to high-levels of dopamine, and thus, more extreme
events may have to be performed to simply enjoy day-to-day life.
This is called sensation-seeking behavior; language created to describe heavy-use drug
A 2004 study compared ecstasy-users to bungee-jumpers and found similar sensation-seeking brain
The reason people continue to do these activities, aside from them being fun and making them
feel good, is once their brain gets acclimated to higher levels of dopamine, it's difficult
to wean it off.
Like an addict, the brain craves MORE dopamine to feel the same high.
In the end, the risk and reward are real, and people can alter their brain chemistry
to get a "natural high" from things like BASE jumping.
But I'm not trying to condemn people who seek out sensations.
Sure, Dean Potter participated in dangerous behaviors, but he ALSO inspired people all
over the globe to explore their planet first-hand; to get off their couches and into their National
Parks; into their world, and to try their hand at things they may not have otherwise.
Extreme sports can extend to long-distance races like marathons or ultra-marathons; but
this man is 104 and still runs races.
So they can't be THAT dangerous, right?
Seeker Daily reveals a man who just won't quit running (soundup) Thanks for watching
DNews, get out there and do something today.



37 分類 收藏
Lily Wei 發佈於 2020 年 9 月 8 日
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