Alot of people love base jumping , bungee jumping, watching horror movies or anything that is normally terrifying, so the question becomes; why? Why does they like to do it even though it might put them in danger?
It’s because of the mesolimbic reward pathway, basically it’s the brain region that is responsible for the brain’s sensation of reward when you do something positive, and it uses dopamine neurons to do it, but how can gliding on a rope that is suspended 600 feet in the air at a speeds of 50 mph be a positive thing?
In his amazing book, The idiot brain, Dean Burnett says:
“The mesolimbic reward pathway provides pleasure when you do something good. But ‘something good’ covers a very wide range of possibilities, and this includes when something bad stops happening. Due to adrenalin and the fight-or-flight response, periods of fear and terror are incredibly vivid, where all your senses and systems are alert and poised for danger. But, usually, the source of the danger or fear will go away (especially given our overly paranoid brains). The brain recognises that there was a threat, but now it’s gone…..
The heightened awareness, the intense rush, the vivid memories; all of this combined means that the experience of encountering something seriously scary can make someone feel more ‘alive’ than at any other time. When every other experience seems muted and mundane in comparison, it can be a strong motivator to seek out similar ‘highs’, just as someone used to drinking double-strength espresso won’t find an extra-milky latte especially fulfilling.”