Is Risk Taking Embedded In Our Blood?

Everyone knows someone who is deemed a little crazier than most. Whether it’s because they’re always the ones coming up with wild ideas of new things to try, or perhaps it’s because they lead a lifestyle that’s seen as a little on the intense side. The daredevils of the world have always been such an anomaly to the scientists who study humans for a living. What exactly is it that makes these people live without fear? Why isn’t everyone programmed to jump off a building without a second thought? Well, the answers may have arrived.


A genetics study that was conducted returned results that showed that risk taking behavior is derived from DNA. According to the records, we are all born with a varying amount of need for physical stimulation, those born with more of the genetic component, seek thrill more so than others, this is done out of a necessity to scratch the itch, so to speak.

Dopamine is the substance in the brain that influences feelings of pleasure, reward, and gratification. Honing in on this specific section of genes within the DNA of someone labeled overly adventurous and daring is where the research began to try to verify if this indeed was the reason for certain behaviors. The gene DRD4 is believed to be closely involved in the development and function of dopamine receptors in our brain, gravitated toward risky behavior. Further results in this series of testing has shown that those who harbored a particular variant of this strand of DNA coding, were much more likely to score high on the tests of risk-taking.

In essence, the findings suggest that some people may have an inherited need to turn to risky activities to reach their optimal level of arousal. This is true even if both of their parents show no signs of any risky behavior. The DNA given from each parents can contain even the smallest amounts of the variant form of DRD4 and contribute to the offspring’s need for excitement. So, catch the warning signs early. If you have children that exhibit signs of needing more physical stimulation, try harnessing that and putting the energy into something constructive.



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