Men And Thrill Seeking: Study Finds Guys Have Grown Timid, Are Less Likely To Try Extreme Activities
Modern men are less inclined to "boldly go where no man has gone before." Apparently, they're more disposed to put their feet up, pop open a bag of potato chips and watch "Battlestar Galactica" for the third time through. According to a new study from Scotland, men have become more gutless and less thrill seeking over the years, and show less interest in extreme activities.
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Researchers from St. Andrews University studying behavioral differences between men and women say that men are more timid now than they were in the 1970s, and are less likely to try things like parachuting or scuba diving.
The team asked men today to respond to a questionnaire called the Sensation Seeking Scale. They then compared their answers to how men responded 35 years ago.
"Sensation-seeking is a personality trait reflecting the desire to pursue novel or intense experiences, even if risks are involved," the researchers note. "Questionnaire measures of sensation-seeking ask people whether they would like to try adventurous activities, such as extreme sports or travelling to remote places ... and whether they dislike dull or repetitive activities, such as standing in queues."
What they found was that men in the 1970s were more likely than women to say they'd be interested in trying dangerous physical activities, like parachuting, scuba diving or mountaineering. The researchers, led by Dr. Kate Cross of the University's School of Psychology and Neuroscience, noted that men today felt differently.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says that men scored just about the same as females in expressing interest in extreme activities.
So why do researchers think men have grown weary of thrill-seeking?
"The decline in the sex difference in thrill and adventure-seeking scores could reflect declines in average fitness levels, which might have reduced people's interest in physically-challenging activities," Cross told The Scotland Herald.
Researchers also believe that shifts in cultural norms could account for men's declining interest in thrill-seeking.
The study wasn't without its caveats, however. For one, the questions presented in the questionnaires were out-of-date. For example, men in the study were asked about skiing, which is no longer seen as an extreme activity.
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