Does jumping off a cliff or skydiving excite you? Scientists have now found that the urge to do exciting things lies in your genes in the dopamine system.
“Not everyone who”s high on sensation seeking becomes a drug addict. They may become an Army Ranger or an artist. It”s all in how you channel it,” said Jaime Derringer, a student at the University of Minnesota.
Derringer analysed genes in the dopamine system and found a group of mutations that help predict whether someone is inclined toward sensation seeking.
However, It”s too soon to go out and start screening people for these mutations; not enough is known about how genes affect behaviour.
“One of the things we think is most exciting about this isn’t necessarily the story about dopamine and sensation seeking,” said Derringer.
“It”s rather the method that we”re using. We used a sample of 635 people, which is extremely small, and we were still able to detect a significant effect. That”s actually quite rare in these studies,” she added.
Eventually these methods could lead to tests that might help predict whether someone is likely to have problems later, and whether there should be early intervention to guide them down a healthier path.
The study is published in Psychological Science.