Science says: People who swear may be happier, healthier and more honest


When you consider the qualities that make a good friend, you probably think of things like loyalty, kindness and courage, amongst others.

How about a penchant for swearing? Well, it might not have been on the list of desirables your parents told you took look out for when choosing your pals, but new studies say it can actually be beneficial to have a friend who swears a lot.

On top of that, it can indicate that person is smarter overall, and boasts a better vocabulary, despite what the general consensus may be …


That’s right, everything you think you know about cursing could be a mistake. At least that’s if certain studies are to be believed.

Psychologist Timothy Jay from Massachusettes College of Liberal Arts wrote in a study titled “Why We Curse: A Neuro-Psycho-Social Theory of Speech”: “Curse words have been only of brief passing interest to psychologist and linguists. The absence of research on emotional speech has produce theories of language that are polite but inaccurate. Curse words are words we are not supposed to say; hence, curse words themselves are powerful,”

Jay and a fellow psychologist Kristi Janschewitz worked on a study titled: “The Pragmatics of Swearing”.

That study found that those who curse are more likely to be better friends than those who abstain.

The reason? Apparently, they’re more likely to be honest and genuine, because they’re more comfortable expressing thoughts and feelings.


The study even found links between supposed criminals who swore, and innocence. Those who didn’t swear were more likely to try to remain calm to mask their guilt.

“People who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately,” Jay and Janschewitz’s study claims. “The ability to make nuanced distinction indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge.”

And for a bonus point, Psychology Today cite a study that suggests cursing could even ward off pain.

Participants in said study who used curse words repeatedly were able to keep their hand submerged in ice water for 50 percent longer than those who didn’t swear.

“The NPS [neuro-psycho-social] Theory overcomes these earlier shortcomings by viewing language in a more comprehensive fashion that includes offensive speech (i.e., cursing) as an essential element in speech comprehension and production processes. The result is a more realistic view of human language,” Jay’s study finishes.

So, there you have it. Concrete (well, at least partial) evidence that swearing can actually be a good thing. If you’re surrounded by people who swear a lot, it might not be a bad thing after all!

Well, I for one am f****** glad about this news.

If you or someone you know curses a lot, share this article on Facebook.




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