Recently discovered: 3 remarkable benefits of swearing regularly
It can sometimes be unpleasant hearing people use strong language and taboo words excessively. Offensive in nature, swearing is often regarded as a sign that the speaker lacks vocabulary and can only express themselves in a vulgar way. That's why people who swear a lot in public are often dismissed as being rude or even unintelligent. However, this may be an entirely unfair representation, as recent studies have now thrown new light on using profanities.
1. Sign of intelligence
A study conducted by psychologists at Marist College has shown that a person who is 'fluent' in swearing is more adept at using the English language. As part of the experiment, two different language tests were carried out — one involved verbal fluency while the other focused on swearing fluency. Participants were asked to think of as many words beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet in one minute. The findings showed that participants with the highest scores in the swearing fluency test also performed best in the verbal fluency task. In addition, the weakest performer in verbal fluency also had a poor showing in the swearing task.
The experiment demonstrated that swearing itself isn't a sign of lacking intelligence or being illiterate. Instead, swearing appears to be a feature of language that an articulate speaker can adopt for highly effective communication.
2. Natural pain killer
Richard Stephens, a psychologist at Keele University, demonstrated that swearing can actually increase a person's tolerance to pain. He and his team asked 66 participants to put their hands in icy water. First, they repeated a swear word while trying to suppress the pain caused by the freezing cold water. The same set of participants then underwent the same test, which this time involved repeating a neutral, non-swear word.
It turned out that volunteers were able to endure the coldness for longer when they were swearing. They also rated the degree of coldness less painful. When conducting the experiment, Stephens saw that the participants' heart rates increased to higher levels on the first test, concluding that swearing triggers a fight-or-flight response and heightens aggression.
Interestingly, many of the final words pilots says before crashing include profanities. Though this may be an extreme example, it supports Stephens' findings.
3. Feeling stronger
Stephens and his team then carried out a new experiment. This time, two groups of participants — each aged between 19 and 21 — were asked to do a 30-second biking challenge and a 10-second hand-grip test. As in the previous experiment, each group underwent two tests, one where they could repeat swear words and the other which only allowed neutral words.
His study showed that the peak power of the participants who biked while saying expletives rose by 24 watts on average. In the hand-grip test, volunteers who swore boosted their power by almost 5 lbs.
At this point, you might think that yelling and screaming must have played a key role in boosting their maximum performance. But this was actually not the case, since the participants calmly repeated their expletives throughout. So what's the reason for their increased performance? "Quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered," Stephens commented in an interview with The Guardian.
These studies have shown a different side to using profanities. Let's face it — swearing is certainly not a sign poor verbal fluency, and may even show the complete opposite. Apart from that, it's a neat trick for people who want to go that extra yard during a workout!