Psychology: Extreme Sports

An extreme sport (also called action sport or adventure sport) is a term for certain activities seen as an activity of high danger, they are what is considered counter-cultural. They give a thrill of facing difficult challenges and overcoming obstacles. There are many physical and mental benefits o extreme sports but there are also the risk of very bad injuries, even death.

The activities of extreme sports involve speed, height, a high level of physical effort, and specialised gear and spectacular stunts and although traditional sports also require high levels of physical exertion, extreme sports have a counter-cultural aspect that traditional sports do not. Another trait that makes extreme sports different from traditional sports is that they have a higher number of uncontrollable variables, which make them more exciting. Extreme sports tend to attract a younger crowd and is usually done as more of an individual activity.

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Extreme sports can be engaged individually and/or as a group. BMX and Bungee jumping are two sports that are individual. Two extreme sports that are engaged as groups are Water rafting and Bobsledding. There are also many sports that can be done as a group and individually such as Sky diving and Mountaineering. The behaviours observed of Extreme sport participants are usually characterised negatively, for example being insane with a need to take unnecessary risks, and not caring for family and friends that are left back worrying about them.

However psychological research indicates that the perception of the extreme sport participants are very different to others. They have a physical need for adrenaline. Adrenaline is caused by fear, fear is a normal emotional reaction, it is a survival mechanism we are all equipped with. This emotion is a response to danger and serves a protective purpose, warning us of threats and preparing us to deal with it. Dopamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter and hormone, which has a number of important physiological roles.

High sensation-seekers are hyper-stimulated by crazy experiences because their brains release more dopamine during these events than people who are low sensation-seekers. There is not a specific gender or sex that makes one more prone to find risk sport appealing, there is still a typical target audience. For instance, it is a common observation that participants tend to be young, more specifically in their late teens through their mid-thirties. Extreme sport athletes tend to have higher results in energy, acceptability, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness compared to non-athletes.

People who participate in high-risk sports are more emotionally stable compared to non-risk sports athletes, because being emotionally stable is important for extreme sport athletes because they need to be able to remain calm and collected when faced with a dangerous situation. A person who is involved with extreme sports has a personality psychologically referred to as”Type T” a personality type that take risks. Type T’s tend to be extroverted and creative, and crave novel experiences and excitement. They can be positive for example; entrepreneurs, or negative; for example; sociopaths.

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