So why does our tired little brain love experiencing an intense scare?
It’s a Drug Trip
The adrenaline rush of a scare instantly releases chemicals that can trigger a feeling of euphoria. You’ll often hear people laughing after a big scare because the body releases dopamine. And after the fearful situation ends, this high stays with us until our body metabolizes these powerful brain chemicals.
It Bonds Us to Others
Fear releases powerful hormones like oxytocin. This works to build strong memory pathways in our brain. Brain research shows that if our experience ends up being a good one, then we’re more likely to remember the people we were with and also to feel closer to them.
Fear pushes our senses into overdrive. Your sight, hearing and all your senses are focused and amplified. This causes our mundane cares to fall away and gives us an escape from the exhausting chatter in our heads.
Adrenaline Junkies Literally Think Differently
A study at Vanderbilt University suggests that this may stem from the brain’s number of autoreceptors. These are molecules that control the release of dopamine and other chemicals. People with fewer autoreceptors may get more dopamine from a scare, which could explain an addiction to thrilling situations.