It’s Okay, Geocachers Are Simply More Mature Deviants


Categories: Geocaching News GeoTheory


Some time ago I referenced some research showing that geocachers took part in deviant behaviours. Whilst I have not been able to find the full article, the best quote from the abstract was:

The deviant, intrusive nature of the act of finding and logging the cache and the after ‘find’ exultation resembles the behavior and emotional process of burglars and thieves, and links the pastime to other constructions of ‘transgressively agonistic’ deviance.

Now a four-year study by Dr Erik Monasterio at the University of Otago has concluded that the only thing separating extreme sport junkies from psychopaths is their level of maturity.

While criminals and the sporting junkie both show high levels of ‘novelty-seeking’, the latter scores higher in self-directedness and co-operativeness.

“These people have the same personality characteristics of the drinking, drugging and fast-car driver,” Dr Monasterio said.

In this case, the research is focused more on extreme sports such as base-jumping. Geocaching, by comparison, is considerably tamer and therefore cannot be placed in the same category. But there are some links here.

Firstly, some of geocaching is extreme and directly related to the above. I would also argue that the majority of geocachers probably push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to get a cache from time to time. Our comfort zone may be considerably smaller than that of a basejumper, but the willingness to push beyond is a common trait in our activities.

Secondly, both sets of research link these activities to deviant, criminal like behaviours. It really does beg the question whether some of the excitement in our sport  is due to this. We skulk around avoiding ‘muggles’, using and referring to each other by our geocaching handles as we search for boxes that we have hidden from the general public.

In some countries, our hobby regularly leads to bomb scares and the number of stories of police being called is astounding. I consider myself fairly meek and mild but even I’ve had the police called because someone thought I was dropping off a stash of drugs.

Of course, none of this makes me want to stop geocaching. I’m quite okay undertaking a ‘deviant’ behaviour because I believe it generally causes more good than harm. And the good news now is that while we might be deviants, we are the more mature (and I’d suggest smarter) deviants. We are top of the deviant pile … and that’s possibly not a bad place to be.

*Are you a deviant? 😉 Let us know in the comments.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Leave a reply

Switch to desktop version