Swearing. It’s the sign of a limited vocabulary and the first recourse of the uneducated. That’s at least what my mother used to say as she made me bite down on a bar of soap.
That’s right. We notorious cursers now have science on our side, or at least that’s what we’re taking from the new findings.
According to the study, which was first reported on by The Daily Mail, swearing is actually a “harmless emotional release,” that can make you feel stronger, though the researchers acquiesce that it’s only effective if done in moderation.
Study participants were forced to play “aggressive computer games” and were able to recall a wider variety of cuss words after their session, as well as swearing “much more often,” the news site reported.
However, rather than just taking this as a sign that more video games leads to more cursing (and anger), the psychologists in charge of the research insist that it shows profanity “can be an emotional coping mechanism which makes us feel more resilient.”
Furthermore, the reasons for swearing went “far beyond” the desire to be rude.
According to the psychologists from Keele University in Staffordshire, participants were asked to recall “as many swear words as they could” both before and after playing the video game.
Prior to playing, they could only recall seven; afterward, they could name eight.
Senior lecturer Dr. Richard Stephens said that the video games “made people feel more aggressive so their language became more emotional and they swore.”
“This explains swearing and makes it more acceptable,” he added. “We want to use more taboo words when we are emotional. We grow up learning what these words are and using these words while we are emotional can help us to feel stronger. Some words are more taboo than others — but the effects can be greater, the stronger the word.”
Also hearkening back to a previous study, Stephens theorized that swearing can help us respond better to pain, noting that in the prior test, two groups were given an ice cold glass to hold for as long as they could.
The “swear group” was able to hold the glass longer, while the “silent” group had to abandon ship earlier.
(Stephens also noted his wife was able to endure labor pain better when she let loose her potty mouth.)
“The stereotype is that those who swear have a low IQ or are inarticulate is wrong,” Stephens concluded. “It is rich emotional language.”
Do you think swearing is the sign of a low-IQ moron, or is it, in reality, “rich emotional language.” Share your thoughts below. (And try to keep it clean.)
[Image via ShutterStock]