Imagine this scenario: You’re falling out of a plane with only a tightly-wadded bundle of nylon between you and a terminally bumpy encounter with the ground. With the wind whipping your face, are you more likely think “I’ve just made a huge mistake!” or “When can I do this again?”
Although we all experience a certain rush from a brush with danger, some are more attracted to this sensation than others. This attraction may be a preference shaped by one’s personality traits, as we discovered when we asked our readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “You enjoy the thrill of adrenaline.”
Intuitive and Observant types had the largest gap among the traits, with 84.61% of the former and 67.03% of the latter agreeing. This jibes well with the novelty vs. stability dichotomy that these traits embody. However, there was virtually no consistent difference between Assertive and Turbulent types (78.55% and 77.28% agreeing, respectively), counterintuitively indicating that one’s relative sensitivity to stress may have little impact on the enjoyment one derives from thrill-seeking activities. Two Turbulent types – Architects (INTJ-T) and Logicians (INTP-T) – were even more likely to report enjoying the thrill than their Assertive counterparts.
So which personality types are more likely to be adrenaline junkies? Let’s take a look.
Identity scale (Assertive and Turbulent traits) aside, there was a significant difference between each of the traits, leading to an equally significant difference between the four roles. Belying their name, the biggest thrill-seekers, according to this survey, were the Analysts (89.01% agreeing). As Intuitive Thinkers, Analysts are sometimes pigeonholed as scientists and engineers; however, though their rigorous logic does aid them in these pursuits, their fiercely independent, open minds may also draw them to instances of controlled danger, such as the skydiving example alluded to at the beginning of this article.
The other Intuitive role, Diplomats, also had an overwhelming majority of respondents who agreed that they enjoy the thrill of adrenaline (81.38%). Again, as Intuitive types, Diplomats crave novel situations, even at the expense of security, but as Feeling types, they may be a bit more hesitant to make the jump. Where Analysts may be comforted by the knowledge that trained skydivers rarely perish, their more empathic counterparts are more likely to go with their gut, which may prove deceptive in a situation where our senses cannot help but make us feel imperiled.
While the majority of Explorers also agreed that they enjoyed these situations (71.38%), they nonetheless came in third among the roles. Much like the Analysts though, it is important to realize that the labels attached to these roles may sometimes be misleading: although Explorers are spontaneous, quick-thinking people, per their Prospecting trait, they are also Observant types – down-to-earth and utilitarian. In other words, though Explorers may be able to adapt to uncertainty, they don’t necessarily go out of their way looking for it. They take risks as much out of necessity and expedience (and perhaps impatience), as they do for the sake of the gamble itself.
Also Observant in nature are the Sentinels, who are just as practical as Explorers, but who place much more emphasis on stability and order. It is hardly shocking then, that they came in last among those surveyed. If anything, it is surprising that, even here, a majority of Sentinels agreed that they enjoyed the rush of adrenaline (64.72%).
Among the four strategies, People Mastery (Extraverted Assertive) and Social Engagement (Extraverted Turbulent) tied for first place, with 83.20% and 82.67%, respectively, agreeing with the statement “You enjoy the thrill of adrenaline.” While it may be reductive to think of Extraverts as simply more “outgoing” than Introverts, it may also be that thrill-seeking activities are more commonly associated with group, rather than solo, activities. This makes these two Extraverted strategies more likely to engage in them than the Introverted ones, whether the Turbulent (Constant Improvement, 73.42% agreeing) or Assertive (Confident Individualism, 69.50% agreeing) varieties.
The Extravert and Introvert split notwithstanding, overall it appears that our personality roles may have more of an effect than strategies on our relative enjoyment of thrill-seeking. This makes sense. After all, although we may engage in risky ventures for all manner of external reasons (peer pressure or status-seeking, for example), whether we enjoy the internal rush that comes from these activities is another matter entirely.
Consider an Assertive Executive (ESTJ-A) or an Assertive Consul (ESFJ-A), for example. These personality types scored 81.22% and 71.12% respectively in our survey. They might hop out of a plane if they felt they would lose face in front of a prospective business partner... but they might do so only grudgingly, and with the most fervent wish that the experience is never repeated. It takes a true adrenaline junkie – perhaps an Assertive Commander (ENTJ-A) or an Assertive Debater (ENTP-A), who reached 88.62% and 93.15% respectively – to not only participate in such activities, but to welcome them.