Mood: Feeling Cheeky

This is GOLD! It explains perfectly why I’m always swearing!

July 13, 2009 |

SWEARING can lessen the feeling of physical pain, scientists have discovered.

Volunteers withstood pain for longer when they swore than when they used anodyne words, in a study at Keele University in the English Midlands.

Richard Stephens, who led the study, believes it may explain why most languages contain swear words.

He said: "The volunteers who swore had an elevated heart rate, so it could be increasing their aggression levels.

"Increased aggression has been shown to reduce sensitivity to pain, so it could be that swearing helps this process."

The researchers asked 64 students to submerge their hands in a tub of ice water for as long as they could while repeating swear words of their choice. They carried out the task again while repeating non-offensive words.

The volunteers who swore kept their hands submerged for an average of 40 seconds longer. When questioned about their perceived pain they rated it as being lower.

The researchers also measured the volunteers’ heart rate and found that it increased while swearing.

Dr Stephens said: "When my wife was in labour … she felt the need to eff and blind at one point, but was very apologetic afterwards. The midwife said they were used to that kind of language on the delivery ward, so it got me thinking.

"Our research shows one potential reason why swearing has developed and why it persists."

— Telegraph, London


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