Storm Chasers: Born to Be Wild?

Experts explain what motivates some to flirt with Mother Nature's wrath while most run for cover

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"What is interesting is that one of the most well-studied and researched storms was Hurricane Katrina," Bea said. "Stanford and Princeton researchers looked at groups of residents who rode the storm out, residents who left, emergency workers who came in to help."

Bea said people who weather big storms instead of escaping to safety may not be in the sensation-seeking category at all. Perhaps they have a lack of financial and social support, or they just don't want to leave their communities.

"They embody the American working class -- independent individuals," he said. "People who don't want to leave their homes, who want to stay close to neighbors and friends because they have a sense of obligation, like a ship's captain."

More information

For more on thrill-seeking behavior, visit the American Psychological Association.

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