The popular conception has always been that people who curse a lot have a lower IQ. That is so FUCKING WRONG!
According to Timothy Jay, a professor emeritus of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, who has studied swearing for more than 40 years,
“The advantages of swearing are many.
The benefits of swearing have just emerged in the last two decades, as a result of a lot of research on brain and emotion, along with much better technology to study brain anatomy.”
A 2015 study found that well-educated people with a large general vocabulary were better at coming up with curse words than those who were less verbally fluent.
Jay, who authored the study said,
“People that are good at language are good at generating a swearing vocabulary.
Having the strategies to know where and when it’s appropriate to swear, and when it’s not, is a social cognitive skill like picking the right clothes for the right occasion. That’s a pretty sophisticated social tool.”
A series of three studies published in 2017 found a positive link between profanity and honesty.
“When you’re honestly expressing your emotions with powerful words, then you’re going to come across as more honest.”
But the study authors of the warned that
“the findings should not be interpreted to mean that the more a person uses profanity, the less likely he or she would engage in more serious unethical or immoral behaviors.”
Trying to push through a tough workout? Studies showed that people on bikes who swore had more power and strength than people who used “neutral” words.
If you slam your finger in the door, you may feel less pain if you say
Another study found that people who cursed as they plunged their hand into icy water, “DAMN!”, felt less pain and were able to keep their hands in the water longer than those who said a neutral word. “DARN!”
Richard Stephens, a senior lecturer at Keele University in Staffordshire, England, told CNN,
“The headline message is that swearing helps you cope with pain.”
Cussing produces a stress response that initiates the body’s ancient defensive reflex. A flush of adrenaline increases heart rate and breathing, prepping muscles for fight or flight. Simultaneously, there is another physiological reaction called an analgesic response, which makes the body more impervious to pain.
“…by swearing you’re triggering an emotional response in yourself, which triggers a mild stress response, which carries with it a stress-induced reduction in pain.”
Research on swearing dates back to the 19th century, when physicians discovered that patients who lost their ability to speak could still curse.
Emma Byrne, the author of Swearing Is Good for You, said,
“They swore incredibly fluently. Childhood reprimands, swear words and terms of endearment — words with strong emotional content learned early on tend to be preserved in the brain even when all the rest of our language is lost.”
Use Your %$#! Words, Not Fists
Swearing allows us to express our emotions symbolically without physically throwing punches. Jay said.
“I can give somebody the finger or say fuck you across the street. I don’t have to get up into their face.”
The purpose of swearing is to vent my emotion, and there’s an advantage in that it allows me to cope. And then it communicates very readily to bystanders what my emotional state is. It has that advantage of emotional efficiency — it’s very quick and clear.”
It’s a F*cking Universal Language
Nearly every language has curse words. Even some animals have theirs.
Chimps raised in captivity who were potty-trained learned sign language for “poo” so they could “say” when they needed to use the bathroom. Byrne said,
“And as soon as they learned the poo sign they began using it like we do the word shit.”
Cursing is just a way of expressing your feelings that doesn’t involve throwing actual shit. You just throw the idea of shit around.”
So, we should curse whenever we feel like it, regardless of where we are or others feelings? Yeah, no. But you CAN give yourself a break the next time you inadvertently let an F-bomb go off.
7 Dirty Words
I’m reminded of a nearly 50-year old routine that late George Carlin is infamous for; the Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV from his classic 1972 comedy album, Class Clown. Yes, this was the old days of broadcast TV where you couldn’t say these 7 words. Carlin would have loved Netflix.
Fuck, yeah! Watch. Or rather, listen…