I may be defective. Not in the woe is me kind of way… more like “The Land of Misfit Toys”. When I was a kid and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t understand the question. If the cultural milieu was conspiring to mold me into some automaton who would respond with “astronaut”, or “fireman”, it certainly didn’t stick. But it was worse than that; there was always a twinge of disdain for being asked such a question (and probably for the questioner). Not only did I not feel anyone should have to answer it, I thought it was a ridiculous question. In later years, I simply replied “CEO of IBM” because it was the most succinct answer I could come up with that didn’t lead to further impertinent questions. Of course, the real answer was that I wanted to play. The more I started to read about the heritability of personality, the more things started to make sense. I’m pretty sure I’m cursed with a genetic defect… “the adventure gene“. And there’s a pretty good chance you are too.

What is the “Adventure Gene”?

The science on the genetics of personality is still in its infancy. It landed on the world in 1996, with two papers attempting to link Novelty Seeking (NS) and Extraversion with the DRD4 gene coding for a particular dopamine receptor in the brain (Ebstein 2006). It’s important to consider that the interaction of particular gene expressions within individuals is quite complex. The interaction of multiple genes can yield a range of results. Therefore, we can’t say the gene discussed here is an on or off switch that says people with one variant will necessarily act a certain way and those with another variant will necessarily act according to another set of expectations. So literally… there is no single, binary adventure gene that determines whether or not you’ll be boring or awesome. However, links to personality traits that would tend to bias an individual toward certain personality traits that would lead someone to be more adventurous are starting to pop up. Enough of the scientifically required equivocation… back to DRD4…

Novelty Seeking

The problem with science is that somebody has to pay for it. Don’t get all “it’s all a drug company conspiracy” on me now! What that means for this discussion is that most of the early research on the genetics of personality has involved “disorders” such as ADHD. Thus, we need to parse a bit of the jargon. “Novelty Seeking” is a specific personality used by researchers and professionals to make comparisons from one person to the next. The research here talks about it like crazy, but let’s go colloquial.

The Non-Technical Guide to Novelty Seeking

  • Tendency to respond strongly to novelty
  • Exploratory activity in pursuit of rewards
  • Active avoidance of monotony
  • Active avoidance of punishment
  • Less influenced by emotion (especially fear) in risk assessment (Roussos et al. 2009)

Say what? Novelty seeking means seeking novelty? Shocker… I know. The trouble is that if you read the literature, much of it discusses NS in terms that may make you think of depraved gambling addicted meth fiend crack head zombies (see Igor, science fun). As it turns out, novelty, and the other tendencies, have serious implications when we start to talk about how this relates to human evolution and the spirit of adventure required to populate the entire planet.

When we start looking at DRD4, it turns out that a specific variant significantly correlates with NS. In such individuals, those with the “adventure gene” present by using less emotion to make decisions and are less impacted by the negative emotions of others when forced to make decisions. Some people are more inclined to be “response ready” when faced with tough decisions in situations of uncertainty and emergency. (Wang et al. 2004)

Consistent with this “response ready” behavior hypothesis is the significantly better performance of DRD4 knockout mice on tests of complex coordination and the observed faster reaction times exhibited by individuals with [the adventure gene], in comparison to [the boring gene] individuals (Roussos et al. 2009).

Humans with the adventure gene also tend to be startled less. What I found interesting about that is not only do they seem less startled physically (they don’t tend to jump and squeal with shock), but their emotional response to being startled is also attenuated. This tendency is true on a short-term scale, but also holds up when stretched over time. These individuals maintained their ability to plan, make decisions, and undertake complex problem solving in the face of direct threat or in novel environments (Roussos et al. 2009).

We’re starting to get a pretty solid picture of the type of person you might want to turn to when things get ugly. For now, we’ll go ahead and ignore the fact that this sort of behavior can be problematic when my ex-girlfriends others have to deal with me these relatively detached wayward souls on a day-to-day basis… when nothing dramatic is afoot.

Paleo Exit from Africa

So much happened in the paleolithic! Not only did our favorite species, Homo sapiens, hit the scene, but the travel industry was born! The migration of humans across the globe had such an impact on our psychology that, to this day, we can simply put “travel” in a list of things we like and all the sexy people in a hundred mile radius will feel an irresistible attraction to us.

Sure, Homo erectus had the travel industry cornered a few hundred thousand years before us, but hey… they’re kind of us too. Current estimates for the last out-of Africa exodus focus on 44,000-47,000 years ago. And wouldn’t you now it, the explosion of the adventure gene in the population has been dated to 40,000-50,000 years ago by completely different methods (Wang et al. 2004; Roussos et al. 2009).

“The simplest explanation, then, for this worldwide [spread] is the most straightforward: the [adventure gene] was strongly selected for at about the time of the last major out-of-Africa exodus (Wang et al. 2004)”.

Now why oh why would something christened “the adventure gene” by hyperbolic determinism have been strongly selected for during a global migration?

Evolutionary Considerations

Make no mistake about it, we’ve ventured well beyond evolutionary biology to get to this point. We’re talking about genes that directly influence behavior and cognition for favorable survival and reproductive success. That’s right confused minions… evolutionary psychology. Before long, we’ll all be automatons controlled by our genes making us tell everyone we want to be astronauts and firemen! Oh Noes!

“It has been suggested that [the adventure gene] would have great evolutionary importance contributing to major human migratory expansions in the past. Indeed, it is conceivable that risk taking with efficient problem solving, under-reactivity to unconditioned aversive stimuli and low emotional reactivity in the face of preserved attentional processing of emotional stimuli may have been advantageous phenotypic characteristics fostering migration and expansion. Low emotional reactivity is associated with high emotional endurance which can afford physical, emotional and mental resilience in the face of adversity in perilous environments. The disadvantageous decision making in [the adventure gene], high NS individuals does not necessarily result in dysfunctional behavior, since all our subjects were normal healthy volunteers, with no history or presence of psychiatric illness. It may even be that [the adventure] genotype may be protective against stress, anxiety and depression by moving attention away from emotional adversity, as an analogue to the psychological termof “denial” (Roussos et al. 2009).”

In other words… “[The adventure gene] appears to be favoured by selection (1) when benefits can be gained from migrating to new environments , and (2) under resource-rich environmental conditions (Penke et al. 2007 )”. And the extra bonus is that it may protect individuals from downward emotional spirals in adverse situations. So maybe you get accused of a little misanthropy from time to time. Ah well… it will probably seem worth it when you’re having more fun than everyone else.

What could be the behavioral differences that are selected for? By observing current genetically influenced differences in human personality, it has been suggested that resource-depleted, time-critical, or rapidly changing environments might select for individuals with “response ready” adaptations, whereas resource-rich, time-optimal, or little-changing environments might select against such adaptations . We have speculated that such a “response ready” adaptation might have played a role in the out-of-Africa exodus and that allele frequencies of genes associated with such behavior certainly would be influenced, subsequently, by the local cultural milieu (Wang et al. 2004).

Referring to these findings, [others] noted that under conditions of environmental harshness and resource scarcity (as is common in hunter-gatherer societies), intensive cooperation, strong family ties, stable pair bonds, and biparental investment are necessary for survival and successful reproduction. These ancestrally typical conditions would maintain the more risk-averse, ancestral form of the [the adventure gene] (Penke et al. 2007)

In this model, the 4R variant has been honed for hundreds of thousands of years to function optimally, whereas [the adventure gene] variants are suboptimal yet confer a behavioral advantage in some environments. Though the “response ready” hypothesis was proposed as an environmental adaptation, sexual selection has long been proposed as another source of human variation (Darwin 1871). (Wang et al. 2004)

The next question for me is… “So what do we do with this information?” If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them below. To my mind, it would be an act of violence (in the parlance of Foucault) for society to place constraints on this group of people. If some of us suffer rapt elation at the prospect of adventure and exploration, wouldn’t herding such children into pens of monotony be a “tyrrany of the majority” of a serious flavor? Or is it better to reign in such impulses… to keep them in hibernation until such characteristics are needed?

And… Why is adventure so damned sexy that it’s the foundation of memes?

Please leave a minimum of 3 comments (yes, 3 each ya slackers) below. 🙂

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But under more luxuriant environmental conditions, when children can survive without so much paternal support (as in most agricultural and modern societies), the more risk-seeking 7R allele should be favoured by selection, as it leads to a personality more prone to sexual promiscuity and intrasexual competition (Penke et al. 2007).

and… Your paleo brain in the modern world…

We have speculated that the same traits that may be selected for in individuals with a DRD4 7R allele also may predispose behaviors that are deemed inappropriate in the typical classroom setting and hence diagnosed as ADHD. In this environmental-mismatch hypothesis (Hartman 1993; Jensen et al. 1997), the DRD4 7R subset of individuals diagnosed with ADHD is assumed to have a different, evolutionarily successful behavioral strategy, rather than a disorder. It is also possible, however, that DRD4 7R, although selected for in human populations, could have deleterious effects when combined with genetic variants in other genes. (Wang et al. 2004)

Oh your heart is pounding just thinking about it! I can almost feel it. No, seriously. You didn’t feel that?


Ebstein, R. P. (2006). The molecular genetic architecture of human personality: beyond self-report questionnaires. Molecular psychiatry, 11(5), 427-45. [Link]

Penke, L., Denissen, J. J., & Miller, G. F. (2007). The evolutionary genetics of personality. European Journal of Personality, 21, 549-587. [Link]

Roussos, P., Giakoumaki, S. G., & Bitsios, P. (2009). Cognitive and emotional processing in high novelty seeking associated with the L-DRD4 genotype. Neuropsychologia, 47(7), 1654-9. [Link]

Wang, E., Ding, Y., Flodman, P., Kidd, J. R., Kidd, K. K., Grady, D. L., et al. (2004). The genetic architecture of selection at the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene locus. American journal of human genetics, 74(5), 931-44. [Link]

  1. Christopher 14 years ago

    Finally! I missed your writing. Since you've decided to focus almost exclusively on evolution now, I expect you'll find these articles amusing at the least:


  2. Andrew 14 years ago

    Thanks Christopher… I've been in a cave reading for a few months. Feels good to see the light of day!

    Ha! Yes, the unintelligent design argument. Love it.

  3. Earl 14 years ago

    As you had already guessed, I found this to be fascinating. There was not a single trait that you mentioned that I don't possess myself, especially when it comes to being startled much less than normal.

    I agree that it would be a crime to place restraints on those with the 'adventure gene' but at the same time, I have serious difficulty envisioning a society that would happily allow others to have more fun while their lives remain boring and dull!

    Welcome back by the way…a great surprise indeed!

    • Andrew 14 years ago

      Agreed. My characterization of people as being adventurous vs. boring may have been a bit of a dramatization… just maybe. In fact, there's not necessarily anything in day-to-day life that brings these genetic differences to bear.

      In practice, the "normal" expression of the gene would result in those possessing it being perfectly happy and having the same amount of fun living a more localized existence. So it wouldn't be that they are having less fun, but that they just appreciate different things. And the same is true of the folks with the "adventure" coding.

      I just saw this video for Sam Harris' new book (just added a book link above the comments) a couple hours ago. There's a visualization in it that shows various peaks representing the different ways to experience human flourishing. I guess I'm probably thinking along the same lines as him.

  4. ash 14 years ago


    Seriously, this is hard core. And so entirely perfect.

    Funny, I had this outlined as a post I wanted to do for TMP, but damn did you school me on the technical aspects. 🙂 Mine would have probably been more like, "So, there's this gene. Basically, stop feeling like such an asshole for being a non-committal wanderluster, because there's nothing you can do about it, and THAT'S AWESOME." Maybe I still will write about it with a special link so YOU can serve as my reference. Yes, yes indeed.

    • Andrew 14 years ago

      Oh THERE you are! Yeah, baby… I’m back and armed with way more than my own inklings and the vapid reverberations of the blogger feedback loop. Not that my inklings aren’t usually right… it’s just that my references now end in .PDF, not .HTML so bring it! 🙂 Does that make me the Thomas Dolby of dime store Darwinian evolutionary philosophy? Only time will tell.

      And of course you should write about the super-sexy DRD4 7R allele. In fact, if you don’t write about it, I’m going to start telling people you’re DRD4 “normal”. We would all rue that day, my friend.

  5. NomadicNeill 14 years ago


    Again I feel like were pretty much on the same page (The paleo life-style, everything that I know about evolutionary psychology and biology all fits together in one 'grand-unified-map').

    This 'novelty seeking' thing goes even deeper. I highly recommend 'The Global Brain' by Howard Bloom. Novelty seeking is IMO an expression of one of the very basic foundations of life, 'diversity generators' (the other being 'conformity enforcers'). It literally happens on the abstract level (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life).

    So how do I apply this in my life?

    By being as authentic as I can. Doing what I want, when I want and how I want. Authenticity is important because you can't act in a way in order seek the reactions and results that novelty seekers /risk takers get (sex, money, friends). You have to be and act independent of any outcome.

    The great thing is that being a novelty seeker is far less risky than it used to be. You used to have to go fight cave-bears and explore jungles and oceans in order to qualify.

    Now you just have to express yourself more freely. If you feel like dying your hair blue, chatting up that girl in front of people on a full bus or swearing in your music and those desires are authentic then you are already well on your way to expressing the novelty seeker / risk taker part of yourself.

    • Andrew 14 years ago

      It's kind of funny how some people just immediately "get it" when they hear the logical framework of the paleo diet. It was mentioned very briefly in Joe Friel's, The Triathlete's Training Bible. I read that on September 17, 2008 and nothing has been the same since.

      That foundation was definitely why evolutionary psychology hit me so hard when I bumped into it on October 27, 2009. Both of those moments are burned into my brain. And yeah… I felt like I had a universal field theory for my view of the world within about 13.2 seconds of connecting EP & paleo.

      Bloom's book has been in my reading list for a while. I'll move it closer to the top.

      Some of the literature on NS mentions novelty and more of an… "adrenaline junkie" or "thrill-seeking" tendency… in the same hurried breath. To my mind, they're likely to be somewhat decoupled from NS genetically/psychologically. I think that dovetails into the different contemporary risk profiles you mention. It doesn't strike me that bungee jumping and migration for resources are psychologically similar. However, from a Zahavian signaling standpoint, they do overlap. That relates directly to what you said about reaction seeking.

  6. Joel Runyon 14 years ago

    Dude this is awesome. I'm gonna have to dig into this more.

    Good good stuff.

    • Andrew 14 years ago

      Indeed! Way more useful than the 10 studies a week trying to find the mythical "obesity gene" to give people an excuse to plump up Santa style. The implications of this branch out in a zillion directions. I plan on writing about it again at some point.

      The research on this one gets a little weird. Almost every paper I read about it refers to the particular expression of the DRD4 gene differently. But… they pretty much all reference each other, so it's not too tough to match up their different terminologies.

  7. Tom Woodward 14 years ago

    Wow this site kicks ass. Just found it through Richard at Free the Animal. Look forward to reading more of your work Andrew.


  8. @DailySuicide 13 years ago

    good gawd. Had you on twitter for a minute. (Paleo minute even.) You are totally dailysuicide material and I am about to hack (with persistence) into your world.


    Because it is hackable. (Loosely joined wallstreet quote. But my bigger point is because you give good post. Keep rocking it because I am gonna keep recommending it.)bout to hack (with persistence) into your world.

  9. Rich McCollum 13 years ago

    My first thought after reading this was the differences in the Native American cultures. Some were nomads while others settled in established civilizations.

    Would you find differences in this gene between different tribes?

    • Andrew 13 years ago

      Nomadic hunter-gatherer (referred to as "immediate-return" in anthropology literature) existence was the default mode of existence throughout most of history. However, these bands tend to move only opportunistically in ways that don't really look like migration. The out of Africa pressures and resultant pressure on DRD4 7R selection seems to be something different.

      Different gene alleles are often found in different populations, but I don't know if there's any good data on this one in particular.

  10. Andrew 13 years ago

    Nomadic hunter-gatherer (referred to as "immediate-return" in anthropology literature) existence was the default mode of existence throughout most of history. However, these bands tend to move only opportunistically in ways that don't really look like migration. The out of Africa pressures and resultant pressure on DRD4 7R selection seems to be something different.

    Different gene alleles are often found in different populations, but I don't know if there's any good data on this one in particular.

    • Michelle 13 years ago

      It seems like we could compare the genes of people who's ancestors migrated out of Africa and were known to be "adventurous" such as the Vikings with those who generally stayed put, such as certain Africans. I use Vikings as an example because I am a decendant. All of my great grandparents left their home countries at young ages on their own to come to America. Who I know of, 2 came as indentured servants as teenagers, one came on his own and joined the civil war as a teenager, and one came to work as a mother's assistant or whatever she would have been called. Then, 2 generations later, my father felt the need to leave his home area. And, following suit, one of my brothers and I have moved around a lot (separately) and I feel that itch for adventure often. I was actually thinking about this same concept of a genetic tie for the wanderlust behavior when my Google search led me to your article! Thanks so much for putting it into such a clear explanation. Gotta love the internet!!

  11. Author

    […] Only Two Days Do Energy Drinks Improve Athletic Performance? Catfish Stewed in Tomatoes and Olives The Adventure Gene Bacon-Flavored Dental Floss December 25th, 2010 | Category: […]

  12. Author
    dylan 13 years ago

    Awesome! I just read this post to my wife. She got this wide eyed look on her face then started laughing and said "FINALLY they have a name for whats wrong with you!"

  13. Author
    @DailySuicide 13 years ago

    So, we have the expression and push/pull to go a certain way. What then?

    It seems that there is another side dealing with psychological contentment that some of us drew the short allele arm on.

    Jane senses the drive to chase novelty. Jane's peer group pushes back. Jane (because dna is a mixed bag) is torn.

    Or more often…

    Rick figures out he is switched on later in life after he built his life around being switched off.

    There seems to be an odd combination of mix-up when it comes to how we are as individuals. Perhaps that is why there was so much discouragement from social groups to mix with the "others." Nomads and long-term tribe/stationary people, it seems, would create for a very mixed up offspring.

    Perhaps what is going on at this site and others like it is the "what now." That we talk and connect and point to tools. I know from my own life there has been this constant battle that a Paleo Framework has helped to answer. Now, I attempt to deeply understand my personal leanings and utilize tools to deal with the psychological fall out.

  14. soahc 13 years ago

    Africans have higher testosterone than whites, yet damned if any of them want to climb Everest.

    • Andrew 13 years ago

      Where the hell is this testosterone thing coming from? I've looked into this claim and found it to be in the inconclusive, but leaning toward false, range.

  15. soahc 13 years ago


    Reducing behavior to genetics will always fail to explain away all variables. Perhaps there is some pycho-social cue in Anglo culture that encourages adventurism? Remember, short, relatively weak whites (If Magellan did not have guns his crew would have been overrun by larger, more robust Polynesians for instance) were the first to circumnavigate the globe.

    • Andrew 13 years ago

      A note on just the data: I’m not saying that one study from 1986 should be completely ignored, but there’s been a lot more research since then. The results of that study were not confirmed by some attempts to replicate them, and others gave different results (particularly when segmenting by age). I’m not going to dive into the methodology of all of them; it’s just not accurate to flatly state that “Africans have higher testosterone than whites”. Since T is directly influenced by diet, I wouldn’t be surprised if actual populations in Africa had higher levels than blacks and whites in America.

      Recent studies give contradictory findings regarding testosterone levels in white, black, and Hispanic men” from “The age-testosterone relationship in black, white, and Mexican-American men, and reasons for ethnic differences” (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19639516

      “Serum estrogen, but not testosterone, levels differ between black and white men in a nationally representative sample of Americans” (2007) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17456570

      “Conclusions: Because there are no racial/ethnic differences in testosterone levels” from “Serum androgen levels in Black, Hispanic and White men” (2006) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16912139

      “African-American and white men have comparable serum testosterone levels” from “Serum testosterone levels in African-American and white men undergoing prostate biopsy” (1999) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10604704

  16. soahc 13 years ago

    Well the proof I see everywhere is that blacks of West African descent (tuber eaters BTW) consistently dominate sports.

    From my personal experience I definitely believe that black people have higher natural test levels, at least when young. I believe this goes hand in hand however with more robust HPA axis' and thyroid function. There are exceptions of course.

    I agree diet influences testosterone. Populations on low carb diets trend towards lower testosterone.

  17. @ArmiLegge 13 years ago

    Andrew this is awesome!

    I sometimes hate to think about genetics just because I believe a lot of people use it as a self defining limiter, but it's always fun to dive into the science of things we take for granted.

    It's extremely interesting to have findings like this and match yourself up to microscopic pieces of genetic information, only to reinforce and validate your feelings. It's like you have a card you can wave at naysayers saying "No, really, I'm supposed to be an adventurous young superhero who hates boring schoolwork and can read through the Merck Manual of Medicine for hours on end. I'm not crazy for all the weird stuff I do."

    I plan on doing a lot more research on genetics and how it influences athletics, but also on gene expression and how we can control things that are supposedly predestined.

    Love you hear your thoughts and keep up the great work!

    There really is a reason for everything:D


    • Andrew 13 years ago

      Genetics are, by definition, a [phenotypic] limiter. That said, it can be used positively and negatively from a psychological perspective. Maximizing one’s own gene expression is a positive goal that everyone can pursue.

      It’s a sticky argument to take genetic information as a prescription for what we “should” do in every instance. For example: genetic influence inclines men to a certain type of context-dependent jealousy based on the paternity uncertainty in our ancestral heritage. However, modern paternity tests render the emotional basis irrelevant. So… genetics could be taken to mean that men “should” act on that jealousy, or we could engage our cognition to realize that jealous impulses are evolutionarily anachronistic.

      See: On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits

  18. NeantHumain 13 years ago

    You're confounding separate dimensions in Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory. The four dimensions of temperament in Cloninger's system are novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence. Low harm avoidance would be more associated with low anxiety in stressful situations, and low reward dependence would be more associated with an unemotional assessment of cost/benefit. High novelty seeking has more to do with impulsive decision making versus the stoic, reflective approach of someone low in novelty seeking.

    • Andrew 13 years ago

      The referenced literature doesn't agree with your proposed associations (or dissociations as the case may be) in this context.

      The mutual-exclusivity between traits that you imply is also problematic.

  19. Travis 13 years ago

    'Active avoidance of monotony' and 'tendency to respond strongly to novelty' have been my "problems" for so long. I'm just not a compliant zoo animal. 🙂

  20. emily 13 years ago

    I so have this gene. Good thing my husband doesn't or we'd both wander off and leave our kid alone…or maybe drag the poor guy through some totally unsuitable expeditions…neither option being very good for the inheritability of my genetic material!

  21. Diane 13 years ago

    I am not a thrill-seeker. I have lived in the same place my entire life. I'm introverted. I have a tendency toward routine. I can be startled easily. I don't like roller coasters. I'm female so I must not have much testosterone. Yet I have a wanderlust tendency.

    I love to travel. I hiked a long-distance trail solo and felt like I was doing what I was meant to do. Along the way, I noticed I had this ability to shove down deep all my feelings of fear or trepidation. Cross a glacial melt stream where I could die? I plunged right in. When I went into town to resupply, the first meal would thaw me out and I'd end up sobbing over my plate at all the emotions I hadn't felt the past several days.

    If I had the money, I would live in a van and travel the country. The first time I ever traveled I flew across the world to Nepal. Someone asked me beforehand why would I choose to go somewhere like that for my first time out of the country? What if I didn't like travel? I hadn't even thought of that. Once I arrived, I ran out the door after unpacking my things at the hotel ready to explore and experience. I didn't even care if I got lost in the crooked streets. I was yelled at for being so reckless! I traveled with someone who fretted and worried at every little thing. At one point we had no cash. So what! We'll figure something out.

    So what gene do I have? I like my routine, boring, stress-free life. I don't like constant change and high-pressure business stuff. But I also like adventure. I hate adrenaline activities. But I can't stand to be "safe".

  22. Rodney 12 years ago

    I fit this profile to a “T”. I have a daughter who was diagnosed with AD(H)D. Our family hit the shores and kept moving on both sides traveling in a few generations from the Carolinas to California. I always want to see what is around the bend. Always have. This character trait can cause stress in relationships, create job turnover, make you rich and poor in rapid succession, and generally be counter-productive to what most consider success. On the other hand, the ride can be exhilarating. I can attest that in situations where death might be imminent, I became incredibly calm – almost detached – and reacted in a very appropriate manner. Reading over the comments above I can tell Diane that we need her type; the ones who like sameness, routine, and who don’t easily become bored. It looks like a mutual thing. I can imagine some time in our hunter-gatherer past when everyone was starving and the guy with the DRD4 T7 gene said, “Ya know, if we all sharpen sticks and rush that giant wooly animal at once we can kill it and have food for days.” And I can hear the others saying, “Are you out of your mind?!”

  23. Author
    Paula Bristol 11 years ago

    I have DRD4-7R gene. Look it up! Explains a lot! 🙂

  24. Author
    Bay Rok 11 years ago

    The DRD4-7R gene type looks a lot like me – traveller, explorer, climber and speleologist. And some other more personal exploration stuff I wont go into here. I was punished heavily at school and in later life simply for being me – we explorers aren't liked by the orhodox empire building types, even though it is usually us who bring in the serious new resources to the group and create amazing new opportunities. Luckily I don't bear grudges. Much. But every day at school – and for much of my career – I thought: "this is such a waste of good adventure time". It was sooooo boring. Now I have the perfect job for an explorer, I work on commission, across a wide region, and only get paid when I bring home the business. I wish I had known that a ong time ago.

  25. Author
    Bronwyn Rex Moore 11 years ago

    Physical adventure is only part of exploration – intellectual adventure (radical new ideas, confronting archaic belief systems, dismantling superstition, overturning dumb ideas) is far more high-risk and dangerous.

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  27. Author
    Tracy Meredith Green 11 years ago

    I was told I had this gene as a child. Stumbling upon your article sealed the deal. THANK YOU for your scientific-based research on such a pertinent point. As an also teacher, it would be lovely to present this as the reason for much of the ADD cases I see…

  28. Author
    Mark Gibson 11 years ago

    I could see myself having some form of this gene. I took an interest and skills inventory test back in college. I came out a statistical outlier in terms of both risk-taking and knowledge-seeking.

  29. Author
    Portia Mills 11 years ago

    "Statistical outlier in terms of both risk-taking and knowledge-seeking" ….And this is why I think you're great!!!

  30. Author
    Mark Gibson 11 years ago

    Yeah…they made me take the test a second time to make sure there wasn't a mistake. I'm just special like that 🙂

  31. Author
    Jen Boyd-Morin 11 years ago

    An outlier in knowledge seeking? I don't get that about you. 😛

  32. Author
    Mark Gibson 11 years ago

    Of course, the same test also suggested one career choice to consider is that of lumberjacking.

  33. Author
    Yvonne Scarlett 10 years ago

    Yes, explorer from childhood, as soon as I left high school I was gone, to travel the world. I am now 70 and still traveling, and yes, in the beginning I got lots of consternation from friends and there parents, I didn't fit the mold but the over whelming draw to travel, was stronger than my caring what people thought of me. I traveled alone, not finding anyone who wanted to with me in my younger years, but still no stopping me stepping into life filled with new languages, smells, sights, antiquity, new food, bodies of water, mountain tops, etc. I would have gone totally mad had I not be able to follow my explorer nature.
    Thank you for noting the emotional component of the explorer, bringing more understanding to my true nature.
    Thank you for bringing more clarity of self, after all these years.

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