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slug Created with Sketch. Science Questions

Why are people scared of roller coasters?

When it comes to this ride, some people squeal “WHEEE!” while others scream “WHOA!” Fast speeds and loop-the-loops may be fun for one person but flat-out frightening for another.

Our bodies come equipped with a handy little feature you could call our “danger response.” It’s like an automatic sensor that works to keep us safe. When the brain senses danger—real or not—it alarms the body, getting it ready to take action to protect us. If you trust that a roller coaster is safe, your danger sensor may not go off. But if you don’t trust the ride or you have a super-strong danger response, you may find yourself opting for the merry-go-round instead.

Some people who feel fearful on roller coasters like that feeling! Their brains may want more stress chemicals. Maybe those people should buy an extra ticket and loop those loops one more time!

Photo by: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy

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