Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Swearing increases pain tolerance . .

You know the drill . .

You inflict some sort of pain on yourself . . stub a toe . . cut your finger . . and you rip out a word that you probably shouldn’t . .

Or should you ??

Swearing increases pain tolerance, which enables us to withstand pain for longer.


Possibly because it invokes a similar response to when we are in a fight or flight situation and we are fighting for our lives . . it breaks that link of fear of pain and perception of pain.

What’s interesting is that normal language arises from the LEFT side of the brain . . whereas these explicit words arise on the RIGHT side.

A study was performed where “67 undergraduates were recruited, and asked to make two short lists of words - one containing five words they might use after hitting themselves on the thumb with a hammer, the other containing five words they might use to describe a table. The participants submerged one of their hands into room temperature water for three minutes, to provide a standardized starting point, then transferred it to a container of cold water and instructed to keep it submerged for as long as they could. In one condition, they were told to repeat the first swear word they had included in their list; in another, they repeated one of the words describing a table.

The researchers measured how long the participants kept their hands submerged in cold water, and asked them to rate the amount of pain they felt. Their heart rates were also recorded after they had submerged their hands in room temperature water as well as after the submersion in cold water. Contrary to their hypothesis, they found that swearing actually reduced the amount of pain felt. The participants kept their hands submerged in the cold water longer for longer, and also reported experiencing less pain, when they repeated a swear word than when they repeated a word describing a table. Swearing was also associated with increased heart rate.

Swearing therefore enabled the participants to tolerate to the cold temperature for longer, and also caused a reduction in their perception of the pain felt. A difference between males and females was observed. Swearing led to a greater reduction in pain perception and a bigger increase in heart rate in females. Most interestingly though, the effect of swearing in females occurred regardless of their tendency to catastrophise their pain. On the other hand, in the males, catastrophising was found to diminish the effects of swearing on the felt pain. This is interesting in light of other findings which show that men generally catastrophise less, but swear more often, than women.”

So Swearing triggers not only an EMOTIONAL response, but a PHYSICAL one too.

However, the MORE we swear, the less impact that word is going to have on us emotionally . . it will be just as good as saying “CHAIR” when we experience pain.


Yeh, don’t think this article relates to Tony . .


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