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Storm Chasers: Born to Be Wild?
Date:5/26/2013

hat you and I would get from eating something that really tastes good or being with someone we really want to be with."

High sensation-seekers are significantly more likely to use drugs and alcohol too, he added.

"The combination of the two -- impulsivity and sensation-seeking -- in one person is particularly likely to lead them into harm's way," Hoyle said.

Telling risk-takers that the weather they're about to challenge is dangerous usually won't convince them to come back inside, Hoyle added. "The more you portray it as risky and edgy, the more appealing it might be," he said. "It's an information processing bias."

Some sensation-seekers may take greater and greater risks over time, said psychiatrist Dr. Emanuel Maidenberg, director of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles. "It's called habituation. In order to achieve the same level of satisfaction they need more and more stimuli," he said. "Their need for excitement and arousal may increase gradually over time and they may need to seek thrills of a bigger kind."

A person might also brave a fierce storm because it brings attention, said Scott Huettel, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke who has collaborated with Hoyle on research.

"Adolescents have stronger responses to rewards, particularly if an action has a social reward," Huettel said. "They may not see their behavior as risky because it has a potential reward -- maybe it will improve their social status or it's going to help them get the girl."

And don't assume your typical risk-taker is the extreme athlete or the guy with the tattoos and piercings. There's a lot of evidence now suggesting that more than one personality type is attracted to impulsive, thrill-seeking behaviors, Huettel said.

"The person who decides on a whim to jump off a sea cliff is not the same as the guy who chooses a risky career like firefighting," Huettel said. "And people who
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