Swearing is considered as a lack of vocabulary, decency even as the lack of intelligence. Using the offensive language is something that is in social terms unwanted. Since the earliest ages, we are taught to speak and express our emotions in a socially acceptable manner. However, most of us are so persistent in foulness regardless on rules of good behavior. Is it forbidden fruit sweeter or is there something else? Scientists deal with this phenomenon and come up with interesting findings.
The Context Of Swearing
While the swearing may become just an everyday habit common to most people, we are using taboo words in different contexts. For example:
- Persuasiveness – we tend to believe that the better language effect will have juicy spoken swear word. Our inner sense is that we are more compelling if we hit interlocutor with the explicit vocabulary.
- Emotional expression – here the things become more interesting. The emotional expression can be twofold in the terms of swearing. If we are hurt, annoyed or offended, the reflex reaction will be a curse. It is a so-called pain response swearing. On the other side, sometimes the curse may be used to promote friendliness, camaraderie, and solidarity – also called social swearing. In both cases, all these words are tied to specific emotions.
- Humor – the swearing is often inseparable part of jokes, known as dirty jokes. It also falls under so-called social swearing.
- Provocation – sometimes the swearing is not the part of some deep psychological indirect need, but deliberately provocation and nastiness. Aware that this obscene language can be quite offensive, people do not hesitate to use it in some situations.
Swearing As Natural Relief
Starting from the stereotypes associated with cursing, scientists have conducted several experiments. First debugged stereotype was the foulness as a lack of vocabulary. They asked participants to think of as many words beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet as they can in one minute. The similar task is set up for the swear words. Psychologist wanted to measure verbal fluency and compare it. The results showed that the people with greater languages skills can think of more ordinary and swear words that the ones they couldn’t remember ordinary words from the first task. Scientists concluded that the swearing is not a lack of vocabulary. On the contrary, it’s a sign of high eloquence.
Scientists conducted another experiment tied to pain reaction. They asked two groups of participants to hold their hands in cold water as much as they can tolerate. While one group have to repeat natural words, the other one repeated swear words. During the experiment, scientists monitored their heart rate. The results showed that the volunteers who have used “dirty” word have pain relief and increased heart rate due to the release of adrenaline. This state is known as stress-induced analgesia.
It appears that swearing is not just a part of our acceptable or non-acceptable social communication, but it is a significant part of our own dealing with emotions and expressions. The chances are that the scientists are damn right.