Why swearing is a sign of intelligence, helps manage pain and more

Swearing can have benefits, especially when it comes to focus and pain relief.

Why swearing is a sign of intelligence, helps manage pain and more


The polite society views swearing as a sign of low education and intelligence, since why would someone use rude language if they have a large vocabulary?

This perception is, um, false. Studies have shown that swearing can be a sign verbal superiority and could also bring other rewards.

Timothy Jay, professor of psychology emeritus at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who has studied swearing over 40 years, said that swearing had many advantages.

Jay stated that 'the benefits of swearing are only now becoming apparent, due to the research done on the brain and emotions, as well as much improved technology for studying brain anatomy'.

Cursing can be a sign that you are intelligent

A 2015 study revealed that people who are well-educated and have a lot of words to choose from were more likely to use curse words.

The participants were asked to write down as many words starting with F, A or s in a minute. A further minute was dedicated to curse words starting with these three letters. The study revealed that those who produced the most F-, A- and S-words also produced the highest number of swear words.

It's a sign that intelligence is present 'to the extent that language correlates with intelligence', said Jay, the author of the study. People who are good with language can generate a lot of swear words.

Jay also added that swearing is associated with social intelligence.

Jay explained that 'having the strategies of knowing where and when to swear and when not to is a social cognitive skill, like choosing the right clothes for a particular occasion. This is a sophisticated social tool.

The act of swearing can be an honest sign

The science has also discovered a positive relationship between profanity, honesty and sarcasm. Three studies published in 2017 showed that people who cursed were less likely to lie on a personal level and had higher integrity levels overall.

Jay, a non-participant in the study, said: 'If you express your emotions honestly with powerful words, you will come across as being more honest.'

The study authors warned that while a higher rate in profanity usage was associated with greater honesty, 'the results should not be interpreted as meaning that the more profanity a person uses, the less likely they are to engage in serious unethical and immoral behavior.

Pain tolerance is improved by profanity

You want to finish that workout? Drop an F-bomb.

Studies have shown that people on bikes who swear while pedaling against the resistance had more strength and power than those who used neutral words.

Researchers found that those who cursed when squeezing the hand vice could squeeze it harder and for longer.

It's not just about endurance. If you pinch your finger on the car door and say'sh*t,' you might feel less pain.

Another study found that people who cursed while they plunged their hands into icy water felt less pain, and could keep their fingers in the water for longer, than those who used a neutral phrase.

In a previous CNN interview, Richard Stephens, the lead author, said that swearing helped people cope with pain. Stephens is the head of the Psychobiology Research Laboratory at Keele University, Staffordshire, England. He is also a senior lecturer.

Stephens explained that it works this way: Cussing triggers a stress reaction, which activates the ancient defensive reflex of the body. The adrenaline rush increases the heart rate and breathing to prepare muscles for flight or fight.

Analgesic responses are also present, making the body less sensitive to pain.

Stephens stated that it would be evolutionary to not worry about pain. You'll be a faster runner and a better fighter if you don't.

He added: 'It seems that swearing triggers an emotional reaction in you, which then triggers a mild response to stress, which in turn causes a reduction in pain.

Be careful the next time you swear to prolong your workout. Research has shown that curse words have less power to reduce pain when used excessively.

Some people swear more than others. People who are afraid of pain and called "catastrophizers" are the ones we should focus on. Stephens explains that a catastrophizer is someone who may have a small wound and think 'Oh this is life-threatening. I'm gonna get gangrene and die.

Stephens stated that the research showed men who are lower catastrophizers seem to benefit from swearing whereas those who are higher catastrophizers don't. Stephens said that there was no difference between men and women.

Cussing can be a sign for creativity

The right side of the mind, which is often called the "creative brain," appears to be the center for swearing.

Emma Byrne is the author of "Swearing Is Healthy".

Researchers have been studying swearing since Victorian times when doctors discovered that even patients who had lost the ability to speak still could curse.

Byrne stated that the children swore extremely well. Children's reprimands and swear words, as well as terms of endearment learned in childhood are often retained even after the rest of the language has been lost.

Instead of punches, use expletives

Why do we swear? Jay suggested that it could be because swearing provides us with an evolutionary advantage, which can protect us against physical harm.

He said, "A cat or dog will bite or scratch you when they are scared or angry." "Swearing is a way to express emotions without having to fight.

"In other words, if I want to give someone the finger, or tell them f**k across the street. I don't need to face them.

Jay explained that cursing becomes a form of remote aggression. It allows you to express your feelings quickly, while avoiding any repercussions.

He said that he swears to express his emotions. It also helps him cope. It also communicates my emotional state to those around me. It's emotional efficiency is very clear and quick.

Universal language

What is it about naughty language that makes it so powerful? It's the power of taboo. It is a universal truth that curse words are found in almost every language.

Byrne stated that 'it seems that once you have an emotional insight into the fact that a word will cause discomfort to others, the rest just seems to come naturally'.

Even primates swear. Even primates swear when they are given the opportunity.

Byrne explained that chimpanzees tend to use excrement to send a signal to other animals, in order to keep them away.

The potty trained chimps that were raised by hand learned the sign language for "poo" so they could communicate with their handlers.

Byrne explained that as soon as the children learned the sign, they started using it the same way we use the word sht. Cursing is a way to express your feelings without actually throwing sht.

Does this mean we can curse at will, no matter what the circumstances or feelings of others are? No, of course not. You can at least be a little lenient the next time an F-bomb is accidentally dropped.

You're only human.