The Talker: Why do people thrill-seek? - New York News

The Talker: Why do people thrill-seek?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There's a rise in thrill-seeking: extreme sports, extreme vacations, and extreme just-about-anything.

One extreme activity went way off-track, and the result was captured on video.

If you've never heard of "zorbing," it involves getting strapped into a giant inflatable ball -- like one of those hamster balls -- and getting pushed down a hill. Usually, it's done on grassy hills, but in the mountains of southern Russia, it's done on ski slopes.

Two men got inside a zorb ball, with a friend reportedly shooting the video.

Things get scary pretty quickly when the zorb goes off the side of the track and over a cliff. The video ends before you see it all, but one of the men inside -- a 27-year-old father -- was killed. His friend, a 33-year-old, was badly hurt but survived.

Thrill-seeking has become routine: zip-lining and parasailing are vacation standards. Even skydiving is mainstream.

There are a few theories about why people seek increasingly-extreme thrills. One is our brains. Researchers found people who thrill-seek often have low levels of dopamine -- a neurotransmitter that creates the feeling of an adrenaline rush. Less dopamine means you need a bigger thrill to get a satisfying rush.

Other theories focus on pop culture. Things like the ESPN "X-Games" and reality shows like "Survivor" and "Fear Factor" condition us to see thrill-seeking as good.

Another thought is that modern life is so safe and we're so obsessed with safety that some of just want a little danger in our lives.

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