We are always told by our elders that using swear words is bad and we should never use them. However, from time to time, particularly when we are in shock or pain, we let out a few anyways. Science has now proven that both these seemingly contradictory things are actually complementary.
As per this news in the Times of India, Researchers at the Keele University in the UK found that bad language can act as a powerful painkiller — at least, for those who don’t normally use expletives.
For those who don’t normally use bad language, using swear word when in sudden pain can be four times more effective pain killer than the ones who are habituated to using cuss words.
For this experiment, researchers recruited two groups of people. One group had people who used less than 10 cuss words in a day and the second group that used more than 40. Researchers asked participants for five words they’d likely use after hitting their thumb with a hammer; the first word listed would be their go-to profanity during the experiment.
All of them were asked to dip their hands in ice cold water and hold it as long as possible, once while chanting a non swear word and then while repeating the first curse word they had chosen.
The results were quite unexpected. The normally non swearing people could hold their hands in water for 45 seconds more while swearing than while they were not. On the other hand, people who regularly used bad language could hold the hand in cold water only for 10 seconds longer.
How does one explain this? From the way participants’ heart rates accelerated post-swearing, the psychologists believed their fight-or-flight response had been activated – that may be because cursing can amplify the feelings of aggression. It looks as if we really “kill” the pain by swearing at it.
So next time you stub your toe, go ahead and let those four-letter words fly. Just don’t overdo it, otherwise it would just stop being effective.