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Davian93
07-13-2009, 12:50 PM
I'm not surprised really. I've always felt swearing made me feel better after a painful injury.

Swearing Can Actually Increase Pain Tolerance

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2009) — Researchers from Keele University’s School of Psychology have determined that swearing can have a ‘pain-lessening effect’, according to new study published in the journal NeuroReport.


While swearing is often a common response to pain, Dr Richard Stephens and his colleagues, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, were surprised to discover that no links had been established between swearing and the actual experience of physical pain. Since swearing often has a ‘catastrophising’ or exaggerating effect, serving to embellish or overstate the severity of pain, Stephens and his team hypothesised that swearing would actually decrease the individual’s tolerance of pain.

The Ice Water Test

Enlisting the help of 64 undergraduate volunteers, the team set out to test their theory. Each individual was asked to submerge their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice; they were then asked to repeat the experiment, this time using a more commonplace word that they would use to describe a table. Despite their initial expectations, the researchers found that the volunteers were able to keep their hands submerged in the ice water for a longer period of time when repeating the swear word, establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance.

Fight-Or-Flight Response

While it isn’t clear how or why this link exists, the team believes that the pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers our natural ‘fight-or-flight’ response. They suggest that the accelerated heart rates of the volunteers repeating the swear word may indicate an increase in aggression, in a classic fight-or-flight response of ‘downplaying feebleness in favour of a more pain-tolerant machismo.’ What is clear is that swearing triggers not only an emotional response, but a physical one too, which may explain why the centuries-old practice of cursing developed and still persists today.

Dr Richard Stephens said: “Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon. It taps into emotional brain centres and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists.”

Sei'taer
07-13-2009, 01:00 PM
sweet...now I have an excuse for swearing at the slimy bastard politicians on TV...it's decreasing my pain.

Terez
07-13-2009, 01:05 PM
The test seems flawed, though. What's to say that the second go-round in the ice wouldn't be less tolerable just because it was the second? It would have made more sense if they'd gotten half of the participants to do the regular word first, or if there were a control group that did it twice with two different regular words....something. There seem to be a lot of assumptions going on in the experiment...

That being said, it does make sense.

Crispin's Crispian
07-13-2009, 01:10 PM
The test seems flawed, though. What's to say that the second go-round in the ice wouldn't be less tolerable just because it was the second? It would have made more sense if they'd gotten half of the participants to do the regular word first, or if there were a control group that did it twice with two different regular words....something. There seem to be a lot of assumptions going on in the experiment...
I agree. This is also something you want to do blind, because knowing the goal of the experiment could definitely affect how the participants react. I know I'd probably want to prove them wrong, for example. ;)

Gilshalos Sedai
07-13-2009, 01:12 PM
All they really had to do was visit labor rooms in maternity wards. I've heard even Fundies cuss up a storm, then. ;)

GonzoTheGreat
07-13-2009, 01:17 PM
All they really had to do was visit labor rooms in maternity wards. I've heard even Fundies cuss up a storm, then. ;)Yeah, but does it actually help?

Perhaps the following test would be useful: stuff the babies back in, and let the mothers give birth once again, but now without any swearing. Then ask them how those two compared.

Gilshalos Sedai
07-13-2009, 01:29 PM
LMAO, I'm sure that'd go over really well.

Zanguini
07-13-2009, 03:29 PM
I think a test like this would be hard to confirm or disavow... however it would be fun to try

Anaiya Sedai
07-13-2009, 04:19 PM
LMAO, I'm sure that'd go over really well.

yeah, I think the only way that would work would be if they aren't allowed to swear the first time, because the second time they will scorch your ears.. :D
having said that, I think it might have something to do with the way the swearwords are said, rather with the actual words.. I can make "table" sound like a pretty bad word if I'm in enough pain..

Ivhon
07-13-2009, 04:54 PM
yeah, I think the only way that would work would be if they aren't allowed to swear the first time, because the second time they will scorch your ears.. :D
having said that, I think it might have something to do with the way the swearwords are said, rather with the actual words.. I can make "table" sound like a pretty bad word if I'm in enough pain..

I dunno...there is something enduring about "YOU DID THIS TO ME MOTHERFUCKAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHR!!!!!!!" (which technically becomes true at around this point)

Frenzy
07-14-2009, 12:30 AM
i heard a news story on the hourly cbs radio news that said there was a study done that showed when a woman experienced more pain during labor, it stregthened the bond between mother and child and helped prepare the woman for the difficulties of raising the child.

i think i hurt myself yelling BULLSHIT.

Anaiya Sedai
07-14-2009, 04:40 AM
i heard a news story on the hourly cbs radio news that said there was a study done that showed when a woman experienced more pain during labor, it stregthened the bond between mother and child and helped prepare the woman for the difficulties of raising the child.

i think i hurt myself yelling BULLSHIT.

Yeah, I saw that a couple of days ago.. I also found it quoted in two news articles, one in the Guardian, one on the BBC site.. Having read the original article in the midwifery journal I have to say that the poor man was badly misquoted.

I dunno...there is something enduring about "YOU DID THIS TO ME MOTHERFUCKAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHR!!!!!!!" (which technically becomes true at around this point)
Sure. But I can imagine that screaming incomprehensible nonsense sounds in the culprits direction can be satisfying too. Personally, I still think that you can take more pain when you relax..

irerancincpkc
07-14-2009, 05:00 AM
Before opening this thread, I saw that Dav was the original poster and I read the title quickly, and thought it said "Swearing Increases Palin Tolerance." Wouldn't have surprised me... :D

Davian93
07-14-2009, 07:42 AM
Before opening this thread, I saw that Dav was the original poster and I read the title quickly, and thought it said "Swearing Increases Palin Tolerance." Wouldn't have surprised me... :D

LOL.

Ivhon
07-14-2009, 08:47 AM
Personally, I still think that you can take more pain when you relax..

I agree. Back in the day, coach would make us do underwater breath-holders. I could go over 100m before I had to come up. The key, though, was to relax and stay very calm. I dont think I could have gone nearly as far if I had been screaming at the top of my lungs.

Sarevok
07-14-2009, 08:54 AM
I agree. Back in the day, coach would make us do underwater breath-holders. I could go over 100m before I had to come up. The key, though, was to relax and stay very calm. I dont think I could have gone nearly as far if I had been screaming at the top of my lungs.
Not to mention that screaming and holding your breath don't go very well together...

Brita
07-14-2009, 09:00 AM
Anaiya, I tend to agree, at least with childbirth. I didn't say a word to anyone, nevermind swear. I was so focused and taken over with what was happening, I can't imagine expending my energy in that way.

And just to give you a little encouragement, the birth of my first is one of my best memories. I don't mean just when he was actually born, but the whole process. I felt...powerful.

Ivhon
07-14-2009, 09:43 AM
Not to mention that screaming and holding your breath don't go very well together...

;)

Terez
07-14-2009, 09:54 AM
We should start calling him Captain Obvious....

tanaww
07-14-2009, 06:21 PM
And just to give you a little encouragement, the birth of my first is one of my best memories. I don't mean just when he was actually born, but the whole process. I felt...powerful.

I prefer to conserve my use of profanity so I don't run out after the children are born. The right swear word at the right time is critical to a child's development.

Also, since my first-born is well known, I think you can infer how I feel about his arrival in retrospect. I wish I'd saved the receipt. I am even where I could return him now.