Apparently, cursing can be positive!


| 5 Comments

cursing.jpg

Do you have wonder why people curse? We don't even have to wonder about why other people are doing it, why do you do it? 
Well, in an article from the Association of Psychological Science's Perspectives on Psychological Science by Timothy Jay, Jay notes "swearing is like using the horn on your car, which can be used to signify a number of emotions (anger, frustration, joy, surprise)." We do use taboo words for various reasons, but the main reasons are: "to achieve a specific reaction from others" and "to express frustration, anger or surprise". We usually wish to harm something or somebody which is a very negative notion. We often think of cursing as a not-so-postive action. 

However, surprisingly, Swearing could often be cathartic for people. it allows people to let out their feelings of anger or frustration people usually keep in themselves. Jay states that "swearing is almost a universal constant in most people's lives. Research, according to Jay, has shown we swear on average from 0.3% to 0.7% of the time -- a tiny but significant percentage of our overall speech (frequently-used personal pronouns occur at approximately 1.0% rate in speech)." He adds that swearing is a natural part of human speech development, which actually rejects the common hypothesis (thinking) that uneducated people curse (direct causation) and therefore they can't ever be brought up to the "high-class" because they curse and "high class" jobs don't accept swearing (reverse causation).  

An article illustrates that cursing relives pain for human beings. An interesting study was led by psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in England, which "measured how long college students could keep their hands immersed in cold water. During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word. When swearing, the 67 student volunteers reported less pain and on average endured about 40 seconds longer." Here is a video where they did a similar experiment with the same concept. 

Researchers don't really know how swearing achieves this effect on humans but they "speculate that brain circuitry linked to emotion is involved. Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimeters in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half." 

So, Does swearing really help human beings in general? and Should swearing be perfectly acceptable in the media since it's so "universally constant"? Could the hypothesis that states how cursing has benefits be a false negative? If you ask me, I would say it could very well be, because I'm sure swearing definitely has some negative effects on people. What do you guys think? What could be its negative effects?

5 Comments

Haha, this blog is great. I am a potty mouth myslef, so hearing that it isn't bad for once is a nice relief. However, in today's society I don't feel as thought it's judged necessarily as a bad thing, but more of an activity that isn't very classy. Whenever I swear around people who don't know me I get very embaressed because a lot of the time swearing is flat out offensive to some people. I started to look up why swearing is so offensive, and according to http://newnation.sg/2011/08/the-real-reason-why-swearing-is-offensive/, it can date way back and relate to our psychology and biology. It may relate back to the fact that swearing has never really been viewed as a good, or acceptable way to speak. And now that it's slowly being more and more accepted people take offense more easily (if they're more old fashioned.) It may also depend on where you live. This article also explains that it's becoming more acceptable in the West but those who live in Singapore still view it as vulgarity. Take David Ortiz as an example...On the game at Fenway Park after the Boston Marathon Bombings, he said "this is our f****** city!" Surprsinly, a lot of people cheered! This may relate to what Yoon meant. Hearing a role model talk this way established a sense of unity which made the vulnerable Bostonians feel a little better. Honestly, now that I think about it...swearing is weird. It can make us feel better when we are in pain, help us explain our mood, yet insult us at the same time! What does swearing do for you in your life??

This topic is very interesting. I had no idea that cursing could be beneficial. It makes sense that cursing can be used as catharsis to let out emotion. However, the study that is mentioned is unclear about how the experiment was done. Were the college students involved in the study used as their own control or were there separate control and experimental groups? If the latter is the case then this could cause an issue with the experiment because some people may have a higher tolerance to pain which means they could keep their hand in the water longer.

What an interesting blog post! I've heard that swearing is a good way to help with pain and the study you presented certainly does prove that.

I've also heard that people who swear are more trustworthy and honest than those who generally choose not to. Here's a poll I've been keeping tabs on that debates whether or not this is actually true. Check it out! http://www.debate.org/opinions/are-people-who-swear-more-honest

What an interesting blog post! I've heard that swearing is a good way to help with pain and the study you presented certainly does prove that.

I've also heard that people who swear are more trustworthy and honest than those who generally choose not to. Here's a poll I've been keeping tabs on that debates whether or not this is actually true. Check it out! http://www.debate.org/opinions/are-people-who-swear-more-honest

I would have never guessed swearing could help you in anyway possible! I was totally against using curse words in high school but after coming to college, I developed quite the gutter mouth at times, once I started to hang out with my group of friends. However, like Dorisa said, I can see how people who swear are more honest, probably because the feel uninhibited and are more like to show emotions. This article from psychologicalscience.org states, "Swearing is positively correlated with extraversion and is a defining feature of a Type A personality." It really goes into the pros, cons and debates with swearing so if you are interested I would definitely recommend taking a look here, http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2012/may-june-12/the-science-of-swearing.html.

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