The Psychology of #Swearing

Ah, really?!?!

The placement of a curse in conversation is either an art form or a total fail. It’s estimated that most people say a few curse words throughout their day. People who dawn angel wings and a halo just don’t swear out loud.  So why do we curse anyway?

A study has narrowed-down four reasons why we accentuate our conversations with swear words. Those reasons are: idiomatically (where a swear word fits naturally), abusively (think Ted Turner), descriptively (“that was f*cking awesome), emphatically (holy sh&t), and cathartically (what comes out when you slam your finger in a car door?)

Sometimes you’ll throw-in a curse word to disarm and ease the conversation. It’s a casual placement of a swear word. Nobody flinches. This is the point of idiomatical use of a curse word.

Abusive cursing is probably driven more by knee-jerk reactions to curse in an attempt to provoke fear and exert dominance in the exchange of words. Don’t be that person.

Descriptive cursing is more like a word bank where the most suitable swear word makes a cameo when context demands: a f&ck ton, a sh*t storm, son of a bi%ch. There are far more than three choice phrases that constitute descriptive cursing but the examples speak volumes.

Emphatic cursing helps drive home a passionate point. If  you haven’t found the perfect way to place a swear word to emphasize your point – you’re missing out.

And don’t be in the camp who says “only stupid people curse.” Actually a study shows that people with higher IQs curse. Eat crow.

The cathartic usage of swear words needs no explanation. Next time you injure yourself accidentally – what comes to mind? Exactly.

One study showed that people who repeated a curse word were able to endure an uncomfortable situation longer than those who didn’t repeat a curse word. I wonder if it releases endorphins when we curse?  Look at this! It triggers the fight-or-flight response. Told ya

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About Allie Beatty

Allie's Voice is where I put my thoughts on health news. I have Type 1 diabetes but I talk about things that apply to everybody. Reach me on Twitter @AlliesVoice. Subscribe for free to Allie's Voice weekend e-news to support the nonprofit, Dip a Stick® for Diabetes. Learn more at www.dipastick.org.
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