Ajay Satpute, assistant professor of psychology.

Why would anyone travel 2½ miles deep into the ocean?

Why would anyone get in a submersible and travel 2½ miles deep into the ocean? An expert explains extreme risk-taking

The price tag for the trip was reportedly $250,000. The accommodations were cramped, and the destination was roughly 2½ miles below the surface of the cold, remote North Atlantic. Then there was the liability waiver that reportedly mentioned risk of death three times on its first page alone.

What could have motivated the passengers on the submersible “Titan” to take such a risk?

“Why did that one person do that one thing in this case, it’s really hard to know,” says Ajay Satpute, an assistant professor of psychology at Northeastern University who studies fear. “But at least when it comes to the choice of rationalizing what we do, we will use many different reasons to do that.”

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Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

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