Skip to Main Content


Our Quest for Excitement

Why do we slow down to look at car accidents? Why would rich people shoplift? What draws people to parachuting, military service, and sadistic sex?

These are just some of the questions this book unravels in its investigation of our paradoxical liking of danger. Using the concept of a ‘protective frame’, drawn from Reversal Theory, Danger: Our Love of Living on the Edge explains how, even in dangerous situations (often because of them!) anxiety becomes excitement and fear, exhilaration--transforming the horrifying into the heavenly.

Examining different kinds of protective frames and how they affect our behaviour, as well as how they are institutionalized in our culture, this book explores how excitement-seeking can lead to disaster for ourselves or others, how it opens us to manipulation—but also how it can be uniquely creative and life-enhancing.

An intellectual tour de force, Danger throws light on a critically important but often neglected force of human nature and culture.

"One of the most exciting ideas to come along in motivational psychology over the past several decades."

– Contemporary Psychology

-- Newspaper Article 'This is a scream' on the slides in the Tate mentions "Danger: Our Quest For Excitement" and quotes Michael Apter.

– The Times

--Article entitled "Slides: The New Therapy" makes reference to the book and Apters views on fear.

– top sante health and beauty

'Much the best book by Michael Apter that I have read this year.'

– John Cleese

'Fascinating glimpses into the complex world of human motivation.'

– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - author of Flow

'This book is a dazzling success. Dr. Michael Apter has triumphantly succeeded in producing a book of real substance on topics of interest to all of us. Sex, war, antisocial behavior, the pursuit of danger, and much else besides are analyzed insightfully by an internationally respected psychologist.'

– Michael W. Eysenck - Professor of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London