Do you often take chances and still land on your feet? You may be more intelligent than you think. A small study recently analyzed the brains of high and low risk-takers and found that risk-takers do, in fact, have more developed brains. Take a look below to find out more about the surprising study.
Researchers from the Scandinavian research organization SINTEF and the University of Turku in Finland found that people who take chances may have a more developed brain than their cautious counterparts.
The small study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, specifically found a difference in “white matter”—the brain’s neural system responsible for analyzing and transmitting information—between “high risk-takers” and “low risk-takers.”
The study had 34 male volunteers ages 18 to 19 involved in a drumming simulation that took each of them through a set of 20 traffic lights.
The participants had the option to either stop or complete the ride as quickly as possible, but run the risk of a “crash” or a red light.
Each volunteer was rewarded points based on the level of risk they took during the study.
Neurological scans revealed those who made faster decisions and took more chances during the exercise appeared to exhibit more brain activity than those who decided to drive more safely.
The scientists conducted brain scans before the study began in order to compare them with the results following the driving exercise.
Keep in mind that the study was only conducted on men.
Although research shows male and female brains are not different, there still could be a number of psychological factors at play.
For instance, there are studies which suggest that men are more prone to taking dumb risks (according to information gathered from the Darwin Awards).
That said, there is also research that has linked quick thinking to more intelligence in both women and men.
“All the positive brain chemicals respond under such conditions, promoting growth factors that contribute to the development of the robust neural networks that form the basis of our physical and mental skills,” study researcher Dagfinn Moe said in a statement.
“The point here is that if you’re going to take risks, you have to have the required skills,” Moe continued. “And these have to be learned. Sadly, many fail during this learning process— with tragic consequences.”
It should be noted that more research probably needs to be conducted before a definitive conclusion can be made by the science community.
Still, based on the preliminary study, it appears taking chances may pay off in the long run—well, at least neurologically.