Hi, my name is Doctor Kenneth Carter. I'm a professor of psychology at Oxford College of Emory University here in Georgia but I'm not in my office. Today, I'm in Cedar town Georgia at Bone frog Atlanta. Bone Frog was created by Navy SEALs and consists of 15 Navy SEALs style obstacles that promised to leave no one unscathed. But I hope they spare me. There's an obstacle every quarter mile; the chopper, black ops, and the dirty name. Because you'll say a dirty name after you do it. They say I'll get muddy, beat up,and exhausted. It sounds terrible, but if you ask anyone else here, they'll tell you it's thrilling. Why am I here? Because I'm fascinated by thrill. I've been as clinical psychologist, professor, researcher, and science writer for over 20 years. As a psychologist, I'm not only interested in what makes people the same, but also what makes people different. Let me tell you about three people I've met. Now, cliff diving isn't a typical activity for a person who's afraid of heights but Mike, a 20 year old intern living here in Atlanta does it as often as he can. He's skydived and cliff dived. He's done the great bull run twice and he's eaten Fugu, also called puffer fish. Although disappointingly for him, only the moderately poisonous type. Then there's Sophie, who can't seem to get enough out of life. A lover of challenges, she's determined to experience life's adventures. She writes of fitness, lifestyle, and adventure blog and recently moved from Great Britain to France to prepare for her next adventure. She cycles, she climbs, she runs, and she travels. She's tried skydiving but she didn't enjoy it because she says she's not in the height of dryland activities. For Sophie, the satisfaction comes from pushing herself to conquer life's challenges. She's on a mission to inspire others to undertake extreme challenges too. And finally there's Karylle, he loves taking pictures, especially travel photos. He shoots landscapes, buildings, bridges, landmarks, selfies. Nothing too unusual, except his shots are captured atop some of the world's tallest buildings. Karylle loves to get to the top of skyscrapers, bridges, anything climbable and take pictures of himself dangling hundreds of feet above the ground suspended without any safety gear. He's known as the Russian Spiderman and is one of Russia's extreme climbers, hanging off of buildings by only his fingertips. He snaps these incredible wowtastic photos. This is a course about people like Mike, Sophie, and Karylle and most of the people here at Bone Frog. It's about people who perform their best in highly stimulating and emotionally charged environments. You may have friends, family members, co-workers who fit the bill. It might be about you too, if you're one of those people who craves new experiences in work, in friends, and in fun. This is a course about people who base jump, spelunk, skydive, drive ambulances, chase tornadoes, and yes run in the mud. It's about thrill seekers, adrenaline junkies, people looking for a buzz. It's about what psychologists call the high sensation seeking personality or HSS for short. Now, to some extent we all crave complex and new experiences. That is, we all seek sensations. Now, whether it's our attraction to the new burger place down the street, or the latest shiny gadget, or the newest fashion trend, newness tugs at us. Even though we all share interests and new sensations, what sets high sensation seeking personalities apart is that they crave these exotic and intense experiences despite the physical or social risks. People with high sensation seeking personalities may jump out of planes, climb building, s and live generally chaotic lives and some may wonder what's wrong with them. If I had to choose where I'd be on this weekend, I'd prefer the beach to the mud. If you are a high sensation seeker it's entirely probable that these types of things seem irrational or even foolhardy. It may seem they have a death wish. I began to wonder what could drive a person to actively seek out activities that were so utterly intense, even chaotic. Why would someone risk their lives running with the bulls? Why would someone skydive even once? Much less four times. What drives these people to seek out the most dangerous even outrageous experiences that they can find? Do they really have a self destructive urge? Is it genetic? Biochemical? Is it a modern social phenomena? Or, is it something else here at work? These are the questions we'll explore in this course. We'll investigate the lifestyle, psychology, neuroscience and environmental factors that influence people with high sensation seeking personalities. We'll examine both the healthy and the unhealthy aspects of the high sensation seeking personalities. We'll look at the habits and havoc this kind of personality creates. And we'll discover some of the fascinating motivations behind what drives this personality. Of course, you can say they're different but my question is why and how. Well that's exactly what we'll explore in the psychology of thrill seekers. During the next five weeks, we'll discover the history of sensation seeking research and the components of the sensation seeking personality trait. The biological and environmental contributions to high sensation seeking, the habits and hobbies of sensation seekers. How high sensation seeking affects travel, food, relationships. And, differences between healthy and unhealthy sensation seeking. And, we'll try to figure out whether high sensation seeking is a superpower or a super problem, it's going to be fun. In our next lesson, we'll examine the curious history of sensation seeking, it wasn't discovered the way you might think.