Bad language could be good for you, a new study shows. For the first time, psychologists have found that swearing may serve an important function in relieving pain.
The study, published today in the journal NeuroReport, 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. [...]
How swearing achieves its physical effects is unclear, but the researchers 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.
Damn straight. My own fave expletive at all times when I injure myself: fuck, or any variation thereof.
I firmly believe that when I slipped and broke my wrist a couple of years ago, I was in more pain than if I’d just been able to just chant “fuck” (I couldn’t because my mom was present, and to do so in the emergency room would have been uncouth). Chanting it in my mind and not being able to let it out totally caused me more pain. My friends may laugh and say it’s all in my head because I’m a potty mouth, but I stand by this.