Monday, July 13, 2009


Swearing makes pain more tolerable? Read the story here.


DennisS said...

I read the story, and I'm not buying it. The fact of holding hands in ice water longer while swearing? Simple distraction technique. It's not the swearing. It's a biased study.

Swearing isn't a natural response, not part of fight or flight directly. We actually teach ourselves to swear. I remember practicing it when I was a kid, so that I would seem tough if something happened.

It is true that there are ways to get the adrenaline going, to where we ignore injuries that would otherwise sideline us. And maybe somehow swearing taps into that particular area.

But swearing, in and of itself, does not increase our tolerance of pain, nor lessen the pain. It simply reminded the participants that they want to appear tough, so they stuck it out longer.

Dan Mayes said...

I agree, Dennis. There's no way to truly objectively do a study like that. There's too many uncontrollable subconsious factors.

I just thought it was an interesting story. The fact that a university actually put the time, money, and resources into a study like that is what really boggles my mind.

Anonymous said...

If someone really feels they need a swear word, I believe that a swear word can be any word at all. It can be as simple as saying, "birds". It doesn't have to be a conventional swear word. I believe that it can be cleaned up, the word can be substituted so that it is a word that children can say and you won't be ashamed to say in public. There is no need to take the Lord's name in vain or to be vulger to actually "swear" and let go.

Dan Mayes said...

Yes, anonymous, I agree. I was just fascinated, again, that someone actually studied this.