No Bullsh*t: Swearing Is Not All Bad, Says Science

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I'll be the first to admit that I have a potty mouth. It's something that I'm pretty good at filtering whenever necessary, including when I'm in the presence of my parents—yet nonetheless, a foul word will slip through here and there, and my dad's inevitable admonishment never fails to make me feel like a little kid again. But since there's been research lately to suggest that swearing is a sign of honesty and integrity, among other things, my newest retort is to cite those studies when he calls me out. (Cussing and talking back: Aren't I the child of the year?)

All joking aside, now there's even more research to support the positive effects of swearing. In experiments conducted by UK psychologists, the researchers asked participants to use profanity before intense exercise sessions, and they ultimately found that those who swore performed significantly better in their physical tests than those who used "neutral" words. Their conclusion: Swearing can actually improve your stamina and strength. "A possible reason for this is that it stimulates the body's sympathetic nervous system," study leader Richard Stephens says. tells The Telegraph. "That's the system that makes your heart pound when you are in danger."

These findings complemented an earlier study conducted by the same team, which found that those who swore had a higher pain tolerance than those who didn't. (The point: Dropping the f-bomb when you accidentally stub your toe really does make you feel better.) Sorry, parents, but you can't deny science: Swearing really does make me a superior human being.

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  1. Feldman G, Lian H, Kosinski M, Stillwell D. Frankly, we do give a damn: the relationship between profanity and honesty. Soc Psychol Personal Sci. 2017;8(7):816-826. doi:10.1177/1948550616681055

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