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Monday, July 13, 2009

so...what's YOUR word?

(i saw this on yahoo news)

Swearing Makes Pain More Tolerable
– Sun Jul 12, 10:10 am ET

That muttered curse word that reflexively comes out when you stub your toe could actually make it easier to bear the throbbing pain, a new study suggests.

Swearing is a common response to pain, but no previous research has connected the uttering of an expletive to the actual physical experience of pain.

"Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," said Richard Stephens of Keele University in England and one of the authors of the new study. "It taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain."

Stephens and his fellow Keele researchers John Atkins and Andrew Kingston sought to test how swearing would affect an individual's tolerance to pain. Because swearing often has an exaggerating effect that can overstate the severity of pain, the team thought that swearing would lessen a person's tolerance.

As it turned out, the opposite seems to be true.

The researchers enlisted 64 undergraduate volunteers and had them submerge their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice. The experiment was then repeated with the volunteer repeating a more common word that they would use to describe a table.

Contrary to what the researcher expected, the volunteers kept their hands submerged longer while repeating the swear word.

The researchers think that the increase in pain tolerance occurs because swearing triggers the body's natural "fight-or-flight" response. Stephens and his colleagues suggest that swearing may increase aggression (seen in accelerated heart rates), which downplays weakness to appear stronger or more macho.

"Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists," Stephens said.

The results of the study are detailed in the Aug. 5 issue of the journal NeuroReport.

ps - you don't have to actually tell me what your word is. but since you asked, mine is "FRAKKER!" I don't even know where that came from.

pps - my favorite line from this article is, "Swearing has been around for centuries...".


cabesh said...

I say, "Piece of......" but I never finish it. Just "piece of".

Mrs. O said...

"Schmidt" or something very like it.

My Molly Mormon sister once said "Scheisse" repeatedly all through her natural childbirth. Only later did she find out she'd actually been swearing in German.

Kalli said...

I find swearing in a different language to be perfectly okay, I do it all the time.

My word of choice is "freaking A or mother effer!", both will do.

~j. said...

I used to do 'mother effer' until Bubby repeated it to me with a smile.

wendysue said...

Mine usually comes out "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" I just say it as long as I need to without putting the ending on.

La Yen said...

Son of a B.

Just B.

Sometimes I switch it up and say Son of a Gun.

Gerb said...

I have a long-standing love affair with the words CRAP and POOP. They are often followed by another word, depending on how serious the situation is... words like: nugget, load or on-a-stick are common. But when it's really serious business, I use POOP-CRAP.

Sister Pottymouth said...

I think you already know mine.

Lucrecia said...

Sometimes Sh*@! will slip out. But I have a tendency to call stupid drivers "Freakers!!!"
It was so good to hear from you Jenny! I hope you're doing great! I'd love to see you sometime. Maybe when school starts and life settles down?

Naomi said...

Mine is pants! As I'm English this doesn't mean trousers, it means knickers!

Bunsies said...

Mine is flip nibbied, I don't know where it came from. A VERY close
2nd is crap, which I am trying to change to crud. Old habits are hard to break

ash said...


My kids still haven't repeated it yet, but I'm waiting.