Though they may not be daredevils in the strictest sense of the word, some people enjoy the public image associated with being adventurous. When we think of such types, certain characters come to mind, like Mario Andretti, speed car racer; Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group CEO and hot air balloonist; and Robby Knievel, stunt motorcyclist. Studies show that daring persons often have more self-confidence and higher IQ levels than those who are more reluctant. But this is only part of the picture.
At the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, H.J. Eysenck and S.G. Eysenck performed extensive research on adventuresome people. In their sample of 1,200 subjects they found that daredevils are more extraverted and impulsive on average, but that contrary to popular belief, their risk-taking is not necessary a sign of neurotic personality. The psychologists concluded that about one-half to two-thirds of our capacity for derring-do is probably inherited.
Test: How much of an Andretti or Knievel are you? The following quiz lists items similar to those presented by the Eysencks. Respond “True” or “False” to the items below to determine how daring you are.
1. When shopping, I usually stick to brands I am familiar with.
2. It upsets me when one of my friends is upset.
3. Unhappy people who feel sorry for themselves irritate me.
4. It is silly for people to cry out of happiness.
5. Many animal lovers are too concerned about the comfort and feelings of animals.
6. I feel better after having a few cocktails.
7. I would probably feel sympathetic to a stranger in a group.
8. Public displays of affection annoy me somewhat.
9. I would prefer a job that required travel and change to one that kept me at home most of the time.
10. I save money regularly.
Scoring: To tally your score, give yourself 1 point each response that matches yours.
#1 & 2: False #3 to 6: True #7: False #8 & 9: True #10: False
An average score on adventurousness falls between 4 & 6.
(My self verdict: I scored 6 out of ten questions and it’s true that I am an “average” type adventuresque person)
Sources: Big Book of Personality Tests by Dr. Salvatore V. Didato, Ph. D.