Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Swearing Provides Pain Relief, Say Scientists

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the take-two-$#&!@-and-call-me-in-the-%!#@!$& dept.

Medicine 230

Hugh Pickens writes "Scientific American reports that although cursing is notoriously decried in the public debate, scientists have discovered that swearing may serve an important function in relieving pain. 'Swearing is such a common response to pain that there has to be an underlying reason why we do it,' says Richard Stephens of Keele University in England. A study measured how long college students could keep their hands immersed in cold water. During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word. When swearing, the 67 student volunteers reported less pain and on average endured about 40 seconds longer. How swearing achieves its physical effects is unclear, but the researchers speculate that brain circuitry linked to emotion is involved. Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimeters in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half like the amygdala, an almond-shaped group of neurons that can trigger a fight-or-flight response in which our heart rate climbs and we become less sensitive to pain."

cancel ×

230 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Well #@%$ me. (0)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667545)

n/t

I can see you are in pain... (5, Insightful)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667559)

Why censor your expression? Just let it out.

FUCK!

Re:I can see you are in pain... (2, Funny)

beckett (27524) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668183)

OW my freaking ears!

Re:Well #@%$ me. (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667993)

If this study is true, that must mean I'm one of the most 'pain free' people I know.

:)

Re:Well #@%$ me. (2, Informative)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668137)

If this study is true, that must mean I'm one of the most 'pain free' people I know.

from the article:

There is a catch, though: The more we swear, the less emotionally potent the words become, Stephens cautions. And without emotion, all that is left of a swearword is the word itself, unlikely to soothe anyone's pain.

Re:Well #@%$ me. (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668239)

Not to worry, my rudimentary knowledge of vulgar German provides an offsite disaster recovery option, should my stock of English be exhausted.

In all seriousness, though, studies have demonstrated all kinds of interesting things about bilingual brains(particularly people who were raised bilingual, rather than ones who picked up a second language by study later in life), it'd be interesting to know if all curses lose efficacy at the same rate through overuse, if the loss is word-by-word, if the loss is concept-by-concept(e.g. excretory curses, sexual curses, blasphemy, etc.), or whether crossing language boundaries reduces the loss of efficacy.

Re:Well #@%$ me. (3, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668267)

I smell a doctoral thesis...

I call bullshit... (5, Funny)

catthedd (1182511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667557)

I call bullshit...

Re:I call bullshit... (4, Interesting)

Meshach (578918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667589)

I call bullshit...

Yes, yes, it does sound like a steaming pile. But reading the article they compared people yelling profanities with other people "chanting neutral words". Both subjects had their hands immersed in cold water. It sounds like have an outlet to relieve stress has a lot more to do with the outcome then whatever they said.

Re:I call bullshit... (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667637)

But why do profanities relieve stress while normal words do not? It's a different process in the brain, and that's the point of the study.

Re:I call bullshit... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667807)

But are they sure the swearing is the cause of that activity in the brain, or is that activity caused by the successful removal of stress which swearing just happens to make easier to achieve. Chanting "neutral" words might in fact have the opposite effect of relieving stress, since you're forcably trying to ignore the fact that YOUR HAND IS HURTING. I didn't RTFA like a true slashdotter, but if they didn't have one, they should have included an extra group of people where were forced to keep their traps shut and see how they responded compared to the other groups. ...

And another group that was also silent, but was allowed to punch other members of the group in the face to relieve stress.

Re:I call bullshit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667653)

"It sounds like have an outlet to relieve stress has a lot more to do with the outcome then whatever they said."

I wonder what would happen if you took a christian and compared, I knew a girl who would always replaced expletives with "darn", "gosh", etc.

Re:I call bullshit... (2, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668141)

You don't have to be christian to not want to use profanity. Personally, I fucking LOVE swearing.

Re:I call bullshit... (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667767)

Perhaps it's just the aggression behind the swearing that causes some endorphins to be released. Swearing, to me, is like an intellectual version ofa primordial scream.

Re:I call bullshit... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667901)

Both subjects had their hands immersed in cold water.

Why is this still the basis for pain threshold tests? I did this in high school. If you keep your hand in the water long enough, you become accustomed to the cold and can keep it in indefinitely.

Re:I call bullshit... (2, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667997)

Have you tried doing this with a bowl full of really salty water and crushed ice?

Re:I call bullshit... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668099)

Another possibility is that the "swearing" group got to do what came naturally, so they could concentrate on staying in the game. While the "neutral word" group had to focus on some unfamiliar word ("doppelganger", for instance) while simultaneously getting their mitts frozen. Doppelganger, doppelganger, that's way harsh. Or....

Damn you FUCKING SACK of PHD SHIT!!!

Re:I call bullshit... (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668449)

It might also partially explain why people going through (say) cigarette withdraw symptoms are rude motherfuckers. They need a quick and immediate release channel for what they used to relieve via smoking. Then they have to re-learn how to be emotionally pleasant without the drugs.

SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667561)

Fucking shit, the Javascript on this fucking site is too fucking slow. Seriously. It's fucking horrible. Tons of pauses for no apparent reason for simple fucking basic tasks like showing a text box, sitting there and mocking you. They're laughing at you because you think it's bullshit but you stick around for it. End this madness! AHH MAKE THE DELAYS STOP!! Maybe my swearing will relieve the pain of fucking poorly coded JS.

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (2)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667597)

How come it takes soooo long to load the preview? But if you go back to edit you comment it is almost instant?

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (2, Funny)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667897)

Because Rob Malda and his web monkeys couldn't code their ways out of a wet paper sack.

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668229)

I doubt many other people could, either. If you are trying to code your way out of a paper sack, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (5, Funny)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667941)

+1 Motherfucking Truth

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668065)

Don't mod this up or you never mod again. The first rule of Slashdot is permaban for anyone who talks about Slashdot on Slashdot.

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668187)

Fucking shit, the Javascript on this fucking site is too fucking slow. Seriously. It's fucking horrible. Tons of pauses for no apparent reason for simple fucking basic tasks like showing a text box, sitting there and mocking you. They're laughing at you because you think it's bullshit but you stick around for it. End this madness! AHH MAKE THE DELAYS STOP!! Maybe my swearing will relieve the pain of fucking poorly coded JS.

I always thought it was a spam filter, to slow down any bots, in addition to the captcha.

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668213)

Fucking shit, the Javascript on this fucking site is too fucking slow. Seriously. It's fucking horrible. Tons of pauses for no apparent reason for simple fucking basic tasks like showing a text box, sitting there and mocking you. They're laughing at you because you think it's bullshit but you stick around for it. End this madness! AHH MAKE THE DELAYS STOP!! Maybe my swearing will relieve the pain of fucking poorly coded JS.

I always thought it was a spam filter, to slow down any bots, in addition to the captcha.

Try logging in and see if you still feel that way. In other news, you look smarter when you talk about things you know something about!

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668215)

I don't have a lot of delays, but my graphics card clocks up to full speed when scrolling Slashdot in Firefox, and that's saying something :D...

Oh, and have I mentioned the momentary Firefox lock-ups when loading Slashdot articles with 200+ comments? Boo Slashdot. Bring on multithreaded Firefox!

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668299)

What the French, toast?

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668377)

Fuck IE then. Better yet, install Linux, and you can fsck over IE!

P.S. The preview Javascript needs to be fixed in Firefox 3.5.

What if you don't fucking give a shit about curses (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667563)

One man's expletive is another man's standard vocabulary. I don't see how you can define normal language outside of the individual.

Re:What if you don't fucking give a shit about cur (2, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667699)

That, or Billy Connolly is pain free!

Re:What if you don't fucking give a shit about cur (2, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667815)

I don't see how you can define normal language outside of the individual.

Nice try, but the individual's not an island. He or she might very well be comfortable with saltier language than most, but still surrounded by (and very much aware of) a society that generally thinks otherwise, thus the language still has 'power'.

Re:What if you don't fucking give a shit about cur (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668005)

What about 4channers that don't get out much.

Re:What if you don't fucking give a shit about cur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668515)

Did you just try saying that an individual defined by their visitation of an online message board is socially isolated?

Really?

Effectiveness for emotional stress? (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667581)

Physical pain is easily overcome through the use of drugs. It is also controllable through meditation and other mind-tricks which move the focus of the mind and body from the pain to something else.

But what about emotional pain? Should I keep calling her and swearing at her until I feel better? I don't feel better so far.

Re:Effectiveness for emotional stress? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667601)

No, that's what bottles of whiskey and loaded firearms are for -- the age old treatment for a broken heart.

Re:Effectiveness for emotional stress? (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667643)

Bad analogy. This has nothing to do with long term happiness, it's just resisting immediate pain.

Re:Effectiveness for emotional stress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667801)

by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
Alter Relationship
<BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday July 12, @11:38AM (#28667581)

Bad analogy.

You're a genius.

Selection Bias? (2, Insightful)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667641)

"During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word."

So they are letting people self-select themselves into the experimental and control groups... doesn't this bias the experimental results pretty badly? Wouldn't it have been more effective to ask a group specifically to cuss their head off and ask a group specifically to refrain from swearing?

Re:Selection Bias? (1)

UltimApe (991552) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667681)

I don't think they got a choice, it was either explicative or neutral word. Its just that it could be there "own" explicative. Not all swears are universal, so that would make sense. If they just tested "fuck" or "jesus christ", I'd imagine it wouldn't work on some people who either don't use those swears, or don't speak the language.

Re:Selection Bias? (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668381)

I was wondering that myself -- obviously if they were self-selecting, the results are worthless. (Or rather, they tell us something interesting, but that something isn't what the article claims.) So I read the journal article, and speaking as a biostatistician, I'm pretty happy with the study design. They did in fact randomize into experimental and control groups, and did a repeated measures design, i.e., all participants were in both swearing and non-swearing groups but the order was randomized, so one subject might be in the swearing group first and then the non-swearing group, while another might be in non-swearing and then swearing. If you happen to be a student or faculty at a school with a library with access to the journal, it's worth reading; it's a nice, almost textbook example of how to report this kind of work.

There's a Soviet Russia joke here somewhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667645)

I just can't fucking find it.

Re:There's a Soviet Russia joke here somewhere... (2, Funny)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668357)

In Soviet Russia, censors fnck you!

well... (0, Redundant)

otopico (32364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667655)

damn it!

It's not complicated. (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667661)

Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior. Any risk taking can generate some adrenaline. The adrenaline makes it easier to tolerate the pain.

It's like whenever I hear the phrase "no new taxes on anyone making under $250k." I just curse loudly enough to make my dogs leave the room, and I feel 1% better.

Re:It's not complicated. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667711)

SIt's like whenever I hear the phrase "no new taxes on anyone making under $250k." I just curse loudly enough to make my dogs leave the room, and I feel 1% better.

Now you have me cursing... Thanks for that.

Re:It's not complicated. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667727)

Lol. I REALLY don't feel sorry for anyone who makes over 250k,and that includes you, asshole.

Re:It's not complicated. (0, Flamebait)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667755)

I don't feel sorry for anyone and that includes you, cocksucker.

Re:It's complicated. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667825)

I don't feel anyone and that includes you, cunt.

Re:It's not complicated. (1, Offtopic)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668025)

REALLY don't feel sorry for anyone who makes over 250k,and that includes you

Dear Useful Idiot:

You're missing the point (of course). People who make under $250k are absolutely going to be paying more taxes. A LOT more taxes. Have fun with that.

Re:It's not complicated. (0, Offtopic)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668311)

You're missing the point (of course). People who make under $250k are absolutely going to be paying more taxes. A LOT more taxes. Have fun with that.

Do you have any evidence for this assertion? At all? Besides "Barack Hussein Obama is a non-natural-born secret Muslim black Nazi socialist communist DemocRAT, so of course he wants to take my hard-earned money away!", I mean?

Re:It's not complicated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668073)

I make way more than that and yet I use just as much road, public libraries, etc as anyone else. It's fucked up that just because I got a break that I have to give away a third of my income. I paid $140,000 in taxes. That's money I just gave away and I will never see again. I still don't have health insurance either. Just because I'm successful now doesn't mean my problems have all gone away. At any moment I could be on my ass with no income. Yet the government taxes me like it's a sure thing. That's fucked up and something you will never understand until you get where I'm at.

Re:It's not complicated. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668283)

I make way more than that and yet I use just as much road, public libraries, etc as anyone else. It's fucked up that just because I got a break that I have to give away a third of my income. I paid $140,000 in taxes. That's money I just gave away and I will never see again. I still don't have health insurance either. Just because I'm successful now doesn't mean my problems have all gone away. At any moment I could be on my ass with no income. Yet the government taxes me like it's a sure thing. That's fucked up and something you will never understand until you get where I'm at.

Here's what I hear : "I'm rich whaaaa whaaa I could become poor again at any time so don't take more money in proportion to what I earn I need every last cent of what I earn cause what do you know maybe one day I won't earn anything whaaaa you shouldn't have to pay more than just what you use in taxes if you're a whiny ass egoistical cocksucker like me"

If you paid $140,000 in taxes that means that you earn enough to get yourself a nice 1960s Cadillac and fill it with first choice hookers. Quit whining, do that and shut the fuck up. Fagget.

Re:It's not complicated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668289)

With that income you can afford to save enough to provide a *lot* of security.

Re:It's not complicated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668401)

That's the cost of living in a society that gives you the chance to amass such wealth. If it wasn't for all the taxes collected and invested through the years, you wouldn't have the chance to make that sort of money.

That's how it is in civilized countries.

Re:It's not complicated. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667831)

Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior. Any risk taking can generate some adrenaline. The adrenaline makes it easier to tolerate the pain..

I don't think there's time to think about consequences when a hammer hits your finger.

Re:It's not complicated. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668057)

I don't think there's time to think about consequences when a hammer hits your finger

Doesn't matter. It's a habit. We're wired to do some communications-related things like that with such speed that it sure doesn't feel like we're thinking about it at all. But you can't choose, form, and utter a word without some higher functions kicking in.

Pain vocalization (5, Interesting)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667839)

How do you explain swearing to yourself? I spent many nights during the past month pacing around my apartment with worsening cancer pain. Sometimes it got bad enough to elicit yelps and curses. There was nobody else around to give me an adrenaline rush from risky social behavior. It hurt, I swore, I felt a little better.

I also discovered that singing to myself helps with tolerating pain. I was laid out still on a hard radiation table for an hour. The first ten minutes were easy but the pain got worse and worse as I stayed in that one position. Since I couldn't move, I tried moaning to myself - which helped a little. On the third session I tried humming and singing along with my iPod, and found that was even more effective at helping me endure the pain to get the treatment.

Re:Pain vocalization (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668539)

My guess would be that cursing triggers a conditioned response. E.g. Pain => Profanity => Pain usually subsides => Associate profanity with pain relief. Similar to why some people think homeopathic stuff works ("hey, I took this pill and I got better" without a control group). Or perhaps the GP is right and one is conditioned to have an adrenaline spike upon swearing because you learn to swear in public before private.

Re:It's not complicated. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668045)

Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior. Any risk taking can generate some adrenaline. The adrenaline makes it easier to tolerate the pain.

I disagree with your hypothesis. Swearing when you're alone helps alleviate pain as well. It may well be linked to adrenaline, but probably has nothing to do with the chance of being overheard. I further disbelieve your premise because I swear in public constantly and think nothing of it. That may make me lowbrow, but I STILL find that swearing helps alleviate pain.

Re:It's not complicated. (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668077)

I disagree with your hypothesis. Swearing when you're alone helps alleviate pain as well.

Swearing when you're alone is only swearing because... you think of it as swearing. Which means that the part of your brain that's choosing and using those words is doing it in that context: knowing that they're words set aside for a specific sort of expression.

Re:It's not complicated. (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668133)

Much of the point of the article is that in fact you are NOT thinking of it as swearing... it's not thinking in the same way that choosing your words and speaking is, because it comes from a different part of the brain. One of that part's functions (or side effects) seems to be the imperative to cuss and swear. Sometimes I make incoherent noises instead of actually swearing, I wonder if they come from the same part of the brain? (You know, the Tazmanian Devil razzle frazzle dialect...)

Re:It's not complicated. (4, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668161)

Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior.

Only if you dick around fucking prudes.

See? It really IS okay if I curse my computer... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667697)

... when it misbehaves! I'm reducing the pain of the experience.

Vindication! (1)

RabidMonkey (30447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667709)

I'm sure this must be a relief to George Carlin .. he must be the happiest man on ...

what?

Dead you say?

Well, at least his legacy lives on.

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, CockSucker, MotherFucker, and Tits

I feel better already.

Re:Vindication! (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667863)

Fart, Turd and Twat.
There, fixed that for ya.

Swearing is good for us, eh? (5, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667713)

Okay, I guess I'd best get my daily dose:

Slashdot, fucking fix your fucking broken site, or fire the fucking incompetent fool doing the coding.

Short term effect ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667729)

You swear... that gets you pissed off... and on some adrenalin ... and then you feel less pain so you can beat the crap out of the cold water that is freezing your hand.... ..(Ok. The last part doesn't work but you get the idea)

The thing though is repeat that often enough and you will get all the damage from the freezing water... and the stress damage from being on adrenalin all the time.

IMHO, I makes perfect sense since an psychological factor can trigger a stress response from the organism. Got to be careful with that on long term use.

Re:Short term effect ... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667769)

I think long term exposure to that kind of pain is worse than the adrenaline damage.

Amygdala (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667763)

the amygdala, an almond-shaped group of neurons that can trigger a fight-or-flight response in which our heart rate climbs and we become less sensitive to pain

It also happens to look like something out of Dragonball [wikipedia.org]

Aphasia (5, Interesting)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667779)

I've heard of people who are left unable to speak (due to a stroke or other brain trauma) still being able to curse and swear like sailors. This does seem to indicate that swearing is linked to something more than just the speech center.

Re:Aphasia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668113)

"Fuck for yes, shit for no."

"... cunt!"

There's a catch (2, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667837)

There is a catch, though: The more we swear, the less emotionally potent the words become, Stephens cautions. And without emotion, all that is left of a swearword is the word itself, unlikely to soothe anyone's pain.

Re:There's a catch (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668479)

That's why we've got creativity; new swear-words can be added. And of course, your mind gets dirtier in the process. Those same words should work just fine (just like "darn" works for some Christians, etc.).

"Roger's Profanisaurus" now treats pain . . . ? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667861)

Wow, that's good news for the folks at "Viz" : http://www.viz.co.uk/books.html [viz.co.uk] or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/images/095485778X/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=266239&s=books [amazon.co.uk]

Maybe Dr House should just swear more, and then he wouldn't need so much Vicodin?

Now you just need to convince those around you that there is a medical reason (other than Tourette's Syndrome) for your chronic swearing . . .

F# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667877)

OT: Out of curiosity, what are some popular expletives in language other than English.
I guess you can post them.

Relevant to Tourrett's syndrome? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667893)

Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimeters in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half.

Re:Relevant to Tourrett's syndrome? (2, Informative)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667943)

See: Copralalia [wikipedia.org]

Swearing feels good. That's why we do it. Not surprising that some people with Tourette's do it uncontrollably.

Pain relief? (1)

wfWebber (715881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667909)

Yeah, but only in this life!

Re:Pain relief? (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668195)

Yeah, but only in this life!

Yeah, but that's only believe there is another one, and that your $DIETY is in charge of it. Who knows, Odin might have a lot of respect for somebody that can produce a good blue streak laden with lots of naughty Anglo-Saxon* words. ;)

*Disclaimer for the inevitable linguist Nazis: I don't know jack shit about the Angles, Saxons, or their words, but for some reason I think a Norse god would give you a thumbs up if your curse could make Beowulf blush.

Re:Pain relief? (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668201)

Dammit...read thoroughly before posting--it should be, "Yeah, but that's only if you believe..."

Cursing, Not Swearing (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667929)

These effects of making foul expletives show why it's more properly called "cursing" than "swearing". Cursing is a verbal counterattack on the source of the pain, which is more like the practice of placing a curse on an enemy than the practice of making a holy vow - because the vow here is profane. I expect researchers will find that cursing puts the curser in an attack state that suppresses the experience of pain. I also expect we'll find that cursing releases physical and mental stress, relaxing physical and mental parts of us so they can return to normal sensation, not the disarray that is the basis of our feeling pain to begin with.

On the US East Coast, we call it "cursing". I know on the West Coast they call it "swearing", and evidently do in the UK. The East Coast is known for its advanced research, typically in the streets, in coping with pain of all sorts, especially by talking. Maybe once they get the right names on these effects, they'll be able to use our informal groundwork to curse better, or perhaps an upgrade to swear off cursing entirely, just as bandaids have replaced blisters.

Re:Cursing, Not Swearing (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668353)

Meh. I live in Quebec. Tabarnac de sacrement de calice (roughly tabernacle of the sacrament of the chalice) is about the worst thing you can say. Swearing seems to fit much better.

Re:Cursing, Not Swearing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668403)

Really? That's worse than "go fuck your mother" in french?

Re:Cursing, Not Swearing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668527)

On the US East Coast, we call it "cursing".

What part of the US east coast are you from? I currently live in DC and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and have only ever heard people use 'swearing' in conversation.

I want to call *BULLSHIT*, but out of 100 coins, i (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667945)

will give them 25.

Once, on my first ship, our steam boilers went off the line. We had no backup in place to generate enough heat to provide us with hot water for showers. I am sure than any residual heat quickly was dissipated or used up for engineering purposes. We were without hot water for a few hours and i wanted to go ashore fresh, not unwashed as a good number of the shipmates chose on a usual basis.

I didn't curse or swear, but i did emit guttural noises not unlike an animal or a madman. It got me through that very, VERY cold shower. But, actually, i had preconditioned myself a little bit by first wetting my hands, then my mid arms, then my face, then my skull, which had lots more heat then the rest of my body. After about a minute, i was "less shocked" by the cold water could complete my shower. It was less shocking that 'diving right it' as there was no body of water but instead a stream of water.

I dare say these people (however esteemed or academic or educated they are) aren't going to find terribly much, but as with many experiments, some get funded because there is research money to grant, burn or otherwise use up. There are people who take acupuncture treatment and don't end up screaming like wild, yet a child or even an adult being FORCED (say the subject is restrained to a table or shackled to a wall and secured in such a way as to reduce squirming, so the subject isn't actually injured by own movement) to receive acupuncture might scream out of natural instinct just because the person administering the acupuncture may be or be perceived as menacing or cruel. But, that screaming person may be a devout person of some religious vocation, may be a person who is mute, or even have had their jaw sedated so as to prevent tongue wagging and speech. Hell, if these people want to spend money, do experiments that might elicit tears out of fear, rather than studying swearing as a pain suppressant. Perception, as said in a famous auto advert, is everything.

Hm... (3, Interesting)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667971)

They didn't mention it in the study, but I have a suspicion that the volume of the word also helps. Because it seems to hurt much more when it's dark and you are trying not to wake anybody up when you stub your toe and furiously whisper "fuck fuck fuckitty fuck!" to yourself (or maybe only I do that?) However, even if you are all alone (removing the "ooh I said a dirty word in public" adrenaline rush people claim) and you yell it at the top of your lungs, it really does seem to help. :D

Re:Hm... (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668063)

I would think of it as what in martial arts people call chi... Or when you're getting that really hot stove out of the oven and you exhale, slowly, controlled, so it hurts less. I can imagine that swearing exhales your lungs in precisely the same way as 'chi' and I know for a fact (my hobby is Sanda/Sanshou) that this does let you control pain. Not in a Rambo kind of way, but nevertheless still very noticable.

Re:Hm... (4, Funny)

karnal (22275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668315)

Or when you're getting that really hot stove out of the oven

Yo dawg, I herd you like stoves, so I put a stove in your oven so you could cook while you cook!

Re:Hm... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668363)

Keeping a stove in an oven is dangerous for other reasons than it's hot when you take it out. Exhaling your lungs sounds like a particularly nasty side effect of swearing too. Is that anything like when smokers cough up a lung?

Coprolalia (3, Interesting)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668079)

It's a shame that no mention was made in TFA to coprolalia ("the spontaneous utterance of socially objectionable or taboo words or phrases": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprolalia [wikipedia.org] ), which is one of the symptoms of Tourette syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome).

It seems to me that there must be some deep psychological need for letting rip with a few choice words and phrases.

"Palin" Reflief (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668169)

Did anyone else accidentally read the headline as: Swearing Provides Palin Relief?

I think either is true.

crap shoot cause i have too! (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668223)

crap shoot cause i have too! crap, fuck, ass, fuck, shit, hole, pie, fuck, donkey, ASS!!!! sorry it had to be done.

Re:crap shoot cause i have too! (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668255)

i feel much, much better now :)

And teh next question is: .... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668257)

What is the most common subject matter for which swearing is about?

1) Domestic quarrels
2) computer usage
3) microsoft
3) other (list)

Cursing decried in public debate! (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668439)

cursing is notoriously decried in the public debate

Kindest sirs,

I am concerned, due to the nature of the language which you have utilised upon this occasion, that you may in fact be referring to an article from around the turn of the century.

Your faithful and humble servant,
YourExperiment, esq.

Fuck, yeah! (1)

Rick Genter (315800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668467)

'nuff said, cocksuckers.

(Can you tell I've been re-watching Deadwood lately? ;-)

That explains ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668487)

... the replies to all my /. posts.

Anonymous (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668491)

Anything that makes you focus on something else than the cause of pain will provide relief. Scratching your back, masturbating, playing word games, you name it.

I'll have to show my wife this article.. (1)

cyberprophet (1411663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668541)

..she gets mad when I drop an F-bomb when I hurt myself working on something. She doesn't believe me when I say that swearing is a tool to help get the job done.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?