British researchers from Keele University have found that swearing can increase confidence, risk-taking, and physical strength. In fact, the use of profanity is thought to increase tolerance for physical and emotional pain.
When some people are hurt, in trouble, or angry, they tend to swear. According to a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology on March 23, swearing may have health benefits. To reach this conclusion, researchers at Keele University in England examined whether swearing increases “state disinhibition,” a state of reduced self-control and lack of restraint.
For the study, they conducted two experiments. The first was conducted with 56 people and the second with 118 adults. “The experiments measured their physical performance and their willingness to take risks. The second experiment, which was pre-recorded, assessed emotion, mood, distraction, confidence, and anxiety,” the study says.
The many benefits of swearing
According to the results, telling profanity increased physical strength and risk-taking. The researchers noted that participants could do push-ups for longer after swearing. The volunteers also took more risks (8%), such as blowing up a balloon as much as possible without it exploding. The humorous nature of swearing was also found to be “an important psychological channel” for increasing physical strength. According to the study, swearing also increased self-confidence.
“It appears that swearing seems to create a state of ‘warm cognitions’ that helps us minimize everyday fears and worries. This may have beneficial effects in certain situations,” Richard Stephens, who led the work, said in a statement.