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Healing Power of Swearing

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Tagged As: Humor and Science

Only a year ago, the concept of swear words and the illusion of decency versus the community standard was a hot topic. There seems to be a new wrinkle in favor of swearing - pain tolerance. Dr. Richard Stephens from Keele's School of Psychology conducted experiments subjecting people to pain and having them utter swear words and adjectives describing a table. His finding was that virtually everyone who swore was able to endure pain for an additional forty-five seconds. He believes there may be an innate link to the persistence of humans swearing over the centuries when hurt as a method of exhibiting aggression to trigger a fight or flight response in themselves. Dr. Stephens cautions against the overuse of casual swearing though as "swearing is emotional language but if you overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment" and reduces the pain reducing effect.

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