Studies of skiers, snowboarders and other extreme athletes are shedding new light on why different people are attracted to different types of activities – and learning more might help us establish exercise patterns we can stick with, as well as channelling behaviour like risk- and sensation-seeking toward a positive outlet.
This seemingly irrational attraction is what Dr. Cynthia Thomson decided to study for her doctoral work with UBC genetics researcher Dr. Jim Rupert.
She zeroed in on a gene called DRD4, which helps determine the density of dopamine receptors in the brain. A single variation in the coding of this gene has been associated in previous studies with sensation-seeking behaviour including drug use, and the skiers in Thomson’s study with this particular variant of the gene displayed more risk-taking behaviour on the slopes.
Read the full, original story: What makes extreme athletes take risks?