Question: When our brains know we are going to get injured why does it let us do the thing that will get us injured?

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  1. @Jamesy it depends on what you mean by that. Why does your body let you jump out of a plane even though its ridiculous? Because you know you have a parachute. You can rationalise risk to make yourself okay with it. Some people can’t though and so they don’t jump out of aeroplanes.
    What’s more interesting to me is how your body knows to prepare and respond to injuries so fast. The next time you see someone get knocked out on the TV during the footy watch their arms. 9/10 time they will give themselves a hug and its though this is an innate response that helps to protect the internal organs when you pass out!


  2. Hi Jamesy,

    We naturally calculate a cost benefit ratio, we rationalise. This means we work out what is the cost of doing something, or what is the risk of doing something, and what is the gain from doing it.

    This is something that all animals do. Think about a penguin, it knows that when it dives in the water there is a risk that a leopard seal is going to eat it. But it measures this cost against the gain of eating food. It has to eat so it has to take the risk.

    Then to this we need to add that everyone is going to have a different cost benefit ratio for the same thing. I handle venomous snakes, though there is a risk, it is far less to me because of my experience than what it would be for someone else.

    So our perceived cost and benefit of doing things is what allows us to do things that can be dangerous.


  3. Hi Jamesy,
    Dustin and James have put it well – we do things like this because we try to rationalise the risks versus the rewards. Different people do this differently, which is why some people are more willing to do crazy things like jump of a cliff than others. If you do decide to do something like that, your body produces a chemical called adrenaline which gives you a bit of a buzz. Adrenaline is released in stressful situations, and your body gets ready for a fight-or-flight response (this term comes from things like if are challenged to a fight, or are attacked by another animal – you’re body needs to get ready to either fight them, or to run away) – so your muscles get more blood, your digestive system gets less blood, you breath more deeply to make sure you have plenty of oxygen etc. At this stage you are ready to and probably feel like you could do almost anything, so then you’ll probably do it, even if its crazy and you could get hurt!