Why do we find things that go fast exciting? Such as roller coasters. Well, it’s not the acceleration so much – it’s the perception of danger that goes along with it. When we’re in dangerous situations, our bodies produce adrenaline and cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormones. Scientists believe that our bodies have actually evolved to seek out this type of stimulation. On a roller coaster, we trust that the ride is designed to be safe, so our brains also produce oxytocin – the “trust” hormone. This quells the sensation of fear, and what we’re left with is the physical rush without the anxiety. That’s why roller coasters are a great option for a first date. It drums up both the excitement and bonding hormones, making you feel connected to and excited by the person you’re with.
When you bump your head, why do you see stars? The stars you see are actually neurons in your visual cortex firing spontaneously. When you get a blow to the head, blood sloshes into and out of your capillaries. This causes the neurons around those capillaries to fire off unexpectedly, and your brain interprets these as lights – or “stars.”
I found these random facts on John Tesh’s website…I always learn a lot from his radio show! What is your favourite tid bit you have learned from him? If you have not heard him on the radio, be sure to check out www.tesh.com!
Photo Credits: hjl (Creative Commons license on Flickr)