We’ve all done it. We’ve all turned to swear when a situation became unbearable. Pain isn’t just physical. Psychological pain, such as frustration, fury, or fear, can be even painful than physical pain. Why do we do it? why do we feel the need to say obscene words? A new study made by scientists, form Keele University in the United Kingdom, says that swearing helps us endure pain, it diminishes it.
Previous research showed that swearing is consistent with intelligence and that it helps endure pain. Scientists believed there are two possible reasons for it. It works because it distracts us from the pain or because it induces arousal. The new study stands for the second possibility. Distraction can’t make the pain go away, only something as strong as the pain can compete with it and make us overcome the urge to stop the pain.
92 participants were exposed to physical pain caused by ice. They had to hold their hands in ice baths for as long as they could. They were also trained to use substitutes instead of the usual swear words. Fouch and twizpipe, instead of… you know.
They didn’t work. The participants were either amused by the words and some sort of emotional response of the nervous system, but not the analgesic kind. It didn’t help them endure the pain as the obscene words did.
“We want to explore — and understand — the magic of a seemingly mundane behavior: a behavior which actually holds a lot of social and psychological power,” said Olly Robertson, Ph.D. Candidate and author on the paper.
It seems that obscenity causes arousal and arousal, with all the hormones that come along, help with the pain. Further research is needed to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. But it should be something about adrenaline.
Adrenaline is the natural anesthetic the human body produces. It can be so strong, that it can help you walk with your leg bones broken into pieces. I am talking from experience. Swearing being a forbidden behavior, it can give you a rush of adrenaline. It’s not the word itself, but the internal perception of the word. If the F word would be just a synonymous for flour, and flour would be the obscenity, then flour would cause the arousal.
This might explain why people who usually use obscene words might need to swear more than those who usually hold back. Maybe people constantly swearing do it because they feel constant pain and they need their morphine all the time, they need to be aroused all the time. And when another pain kicks, they need an overdose of swearing to cope with it. They need a river of swear words to get to the necessary level of arousal.