Profanity Found to Reduce Painadmin
According to new research recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, swearing can actually ease the sensation of pain, especially if you let a particular four letter word fly, IFLScience.com reports.
While the exact mechanism through which swearing alleviates pain isn’t exactly clear, in this research, colleagues Richard Stephens and Olly Roberston of Keele University investigated the impact of switching expletives when testing how long participants could tolerate submerging their hand in ice water. In order to determine if specific words were more effective than others, in addition to the “f-word”, the researchers created two new “swear” words “identified as both emotion-arousing and distracting”. They then took 92 participants and divided them into four groups – the first group was allowed to use a conventional swear (“f—”), the second group was allowed to use a neutral word (“table”), and the final two groups used the new “swear” words, “fouch” and “twizpipe”. All participants were then challenged to see how long they could leave their bare hand in ice cold water. They found that “f-word” participants’ pain threshold improved by 32% compared to the other two groups.
“While it is not properly understood how swear words gain their power, it has been suggested that swearing is learned during childhood and that aversive classical conditioning contributes to the emotionally arousing aspects of swear word use,” Robertson and Stephens wrote in their paper. “This suggests that how and when we learn conventional swear words is an important aspect of how they function.”