Emotional arousal makes us better at swearing

May 8, 2014

People swear more colourfully when they are in a emotionally aroused state. This suggests that swearing is closely related to emotion.

This is the finding of a research project, funded by the British Psychological Society's 2013 Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme, by Amy Zile and Dr Richard Stephens from Keele University.

The study, along with eight other winning research projects, will be presented today, Wednesday 7 May 2014, at the British Psychological Society annual conference hosted at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

Amy Zile said: "There is still uncertainty as to why people swear. Is it due to not being articulate and low IQ or it is a form of ? If it is a form of emotional expression then understanding the processes involved is an important part of understanding .

Our study found that when we raised people's emotional arousal level they became more proficient at swearing such that they were able to produce a greater number of different swear words and expressions in a one-minute period. This provides experimental support for the theory that is emotional language."

Explore further: Swearing may help with pain, but at a social cost

Related Stories

Swear words shed light on how language shapes thought

July 25, 2011

Why were people offended when BBC broadcaster James Naughtie mispronounced the surname of the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt? Why is it much easier for bilingual speakers to swear in their second language? Why are people ...

Recommended for you

How to reduce US firearm suicide rates?

July 28, 2016

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) have found that legislation reducing access to firearms has lowered firearm suicide rates in other countries. This ...

Music makes beer taste better

July 28, 2016

Music can influence how much you like the taste of beer, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Smartphone exercises for a better mood

July 28, 2016

Brief, directed smartphone exercises can help quickly improve our mood. This is the latest finding from psychologists at the University of Basel and their international colleagues, reported in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Resistance to antidepressants linked to metabolism

July 25, 2016

Often, clinical depression has company; it shows up in the brain alongside metabolic abnormalities, such as elevated blood sugar, in the body. While studying an experimental antidepressant in rats, Rockefeller University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.