Boing Boing posted a really interesting post about the psychology of risk-taking. A new survey by researchers at University of Michigan suggest that just because somebody will take part in risky behaviour, doesn't mean that they will be risk takers in other areas of life.
The researchers surveyed participants to
see their participation level for several different types of risky business
including exposing yourself to chemicals that might lead to birth defects for a
high-paying job, engaging in unprotected sex or chasing a bear out of your
wilderness campsite area while banging pots and pans.
They found that somebody might go skydiving (which is
risky) but not stand up to an abusive boss (also risky). The research shows
that not all risk is created equal and people show a mixture of both risky and
non-risky behaviours in their daily lives.
The research seems to go against common theories
of risk that group people as either risk-seeking or risk-avoiding, and suggests
that we can have a mix of both risky and non-risky behaviour depending who you
are and what situation you are in.
They also found (to no surprise) that men
were higher risk takers then woman.
Research Paper (pdf)