There are many instances where we see people swearing at each other as a means to vent out their pent-up aggression. Cursing someone is usually considered a wrongful act, but scientists from the Keele University have unfolded that it apparently served as a temporary pain reliever, but just for those who did not swear on a regular basis.
The outcomes of the study showed that swearing at someone helps resist tough situations as compared to using words that have null effect. Notably, the team found that individuals swearing for fewer times in a day could combat the challenging nature of any issue 2 folds better than those who were swearing frequently.
Dr Richard Stephens, a senior lecturer in Psychology at Keele University commented, “Swearing is a very emotive form of language and our findings suggest that over-use of swear words can water down their emotional effect. Used in moderation, swearing can be an effective and readily available short-term pain reliever if, for example, you are in a situation where there is no access to medical care or painkillers. However, if you’re used to swearing all the time, our research suggests you won’t get the same effect.”
The mechanism is such that swearing evoked an emotional response in the recipient in the form of anger or aggression. This seemingly led to something known as stress-induced analgesia which is a natural system of the body to fight pain accompanied by a rush of adrenalin. But, this effect could be counterproductive in case swearing becomes a usual occurrence which may not get the desired emotional response, thereby shrinking the pain relieving influence.
The scientists added that neutral language is linked to the cortex present at the left side of the brain while swearing appeared to penetrate deeply into the brain in terms of emotions. As far as pain swearing goes, the results can be supposedly implicated in emotional self-management, the team said. However, if the effect is applicable to other life situations too is something only further trials could affirm.
This study is published in The Journal of Pain.