We may have been taught to keep swearing to a minimum، as it’s seen as rude and vulgar، new research suggests that in certain situations، swearing may be advantageous. The research found that swearing out loud can actually make you stronger، adding to the many surprising benefits of this offensive behavior.
The study، presented at this year's annual conference of The British Psychological Society، found that volunteers were able to produce more power and had a stronger handgrip when they swore out loud. However، closer examination revealed that swearing did not have an effect on heart rate، suggesting another reason for this sudden increase in strength.
"So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered،” explained study author Dr. Richard Stephens in a statement. “We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully."
For their study، Stephens and his team from Keele University and Long Island University Brooklyn had 29 volunteers complete a test of anaerobic power، a measurement of physical effort during a short period of time where an individual will go “all out.” For the study، the anaerobic exercise consisted of a short intense period on an exercise bike. Volunteers did this bike exercise both after swearing and after not swearing to measure differences in strength. In a second experiment، 52 volunteers were asked to complete an isometric handgrip test، a physiological test done to increase arterial pressure. Results revealed that swearing resulted in more strength in both experiments.
Surprisingly، increased strength is not the only benefit of swearing، as past research has also shown that swearing helps to reduce pain. According to a 2009 study، swearing triggered higher aggression and a “fight-or-flight” response. In turn، this led to increased heart rate and higher adrenaline، both of which help to numb pain. Although it's not clear why some words have more physical power than others، researchers suggest it has to do with the high level of emotion tied to swear words. These emotional ties have a stronger physical reaction than other words in your vernacular.
Honesty is also another positive side effect of swearing، as research suggests that people are more trusting of speakers that use more swear words in their speech. According to The Independent، this may be tied to speech patterns. Liars are more likely to use third-person pronouns and negative words in their speech، where honest individuals prefer profanity. This may be because swearing is used to express yourself، and those who swear more regularly are thought to portray their true selves to others.