Propensity For Risky Behavior Determined By Metabolic Rate

haidut

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The type of behavior scientists consider risky is usually the exact behavior children and young adults seem so suited for - i.e. willingness to explore and learn even in the face of danger. This is yet another study to show that openness to new experiences, desire to explore novel environments, and to learn new things is determined by the metabolic rate (which itself is primarily determined by thyroid function).

Risky metabolism

"...As a next step the researchers investigated how all these factors were related to each other by means of complex statistical analyses. They first found that the great ***s differed in metabolic rate, body mass, and risk-taking behaviour between both study years; in the year when birds had higher metabolic rate, they also showed higher levels of risk-taking behaviour. Additionally, within each year, birds with higher metabolic rates returned to the feeder sooner after being presented with the predator disturbance. Amazingly, ambient temperature also had an influence on overall risk-taking behaviour; birds tended to take more risks when temperatures were lower “This study shows that variation in risk-taking behaviour is linked to differences in energy constraints. Birds facing higher energetic constraints - either because they have a higher metabolic rate or because low ambient temperatures cause them to spend more energy on thermoregulation – are more willing to forage under “risky” conditions, like when a predator has recently been observed in the area,” concludes Kimberley Mathot, first author of the study. Possibly birds with a high metabolic rate simply cannot afford to delay feeding because of their higher energetic needs, and thus are more willing to take risks."
 

Dopamine

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This concept is very Nietzschean.

“Meaning and morality of One's life come from within oneself. Healthy, strong individuals seek self expansion by experimenting and by living dangerously. Life consists of an infinite number of possibilities and the healthy person explores as many of them as possible. Religions that teach pity, self-contempt, humility, self-restraint and guilt are incorrect. The good life is ever changing, challenging, devoid of regret, intense, creative and risky.”
-Nietzsche

"The higher man is distinguished from the lower by his fearlessness and his readiness to challenge misfortune"
-Nietzsche

I do think it is important to differentiate impulsiveness from risk taking. Impulsiveness is seen in conditions like ADHD and probaly results from a deficit in dopamine. "...weakness of the will or, to be exact, the inability not to react to a stimulus, is itself just another form of degeneration." ~Nietzsche
Impulsive pleasure chasing leads to hedonism as all long range goals are set aside for the sake of instant gratification. Of course what is pleasurable in the short term can destroy our pleasure in the long term... As a happy family man starts snorting cocaine and cheating on his wife- he loses his house, family, everything he's worked for and he is ruined.

Risk taking is calculated. Risk often involves short term suffering and difficulty for long range rewards and pleasure. It is not the same as impulsiveness...
 
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DaveFoster

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Makes sense. Men have higher metabolic rates on average; risk-taking is a masculine trait.
 

sladerunner69

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A higher emtabolic rate generally represents a more formidable state of health. Someone who is fortified by a high metabolism, and being influenced by surplus amounts of cellular energy will undoubtedly be more willing to take opportunities that are accompanied by risks, risks that may be perceived as overwhelming to someone in a poor state of health. It's really all about confidence in one's own health.

After taking propecia my health was in a terrible place, I felt my body was crumbling and that I would die from cancer or heart failure soon if I did not find a way out. I didn't have the energy or confidence to take any risks, and would confine myself to my couch for weeks on end, only leaving the house to procure food.
 

milk_lover

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Does skydiving count as a risk? Certain one did it just a week ago :) I think I am moving in the right direction fingers crossed!
 

James_001

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This concept is very Nietzschean.

“Meaning and morality of One's life come from within oneself. Healthy, strong individuals seek self expansion by experimenting and by living dangerously. Life consists of an infinite number of possibilities and the healthy person explores as many of them as possible. Religions that teach pity, self-contempt, humility, self-restraint and guilt are incorrect. The good life is ever changing, challenging, devoid of regret, intense, creative and risky.”
-Nietzsche

.

Nietzsche did not say that....

An Introduction to the History of Psychology
 

Dopamine

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OK I didn't know that- good catch. As an interpretation of his work however I would say it's a pretty accurate reflection of his views. I still stand by my statement that this concept is quite Nietzschean.

"genius depends on dry air, on clear skies-that is, on a rapid metabolism, on the possibility of drawing again and again on great, even tremendous quantities of strength."
-Ecce Homo

"For believe me, the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slope of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored seas!"
-The Gay Science
 

lampofred

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Very interesting. Both the main conclusion of the study and the fact that it's not absolute body temperature that's important but rather how much heat your body generates. So colder ambient temperatures are better, someone with average temps in a cold environment would be healthier than someone with high temps in a hot environment.
 

DaveFoster

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I legit feel more 'alpha' whenever my metabolism is buzizng high.
The feeling's pretty intuitive and represented in our language: "high," "on top of the world" and so on.
 
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