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

Swearing may help with pain, but at a social cost

June 2, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study indicates that swearing might initially make you feel better, but it's at the risk of alienating those around you.

Arthritis patients want more psychological and emotional support

April 17, 2014
New research from UWE Bristol has found a high demand for help to cope with the social and emotional implications of inflammatory arthritis among patients. The study, which will be presented at Rheumatology 2014 this month, ...

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 ...

Study finds pregnant women show increased activity in right side of brain

May 6, 2014
Pregnant women show increased activity in the area of the brain related to emotional skills as they prepare to bond with their babies, according to a new study by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Recommended for you

Even babies can tell who's the boss, UW research says

July 27, 2017
The charismatic colleague, the natural leader, the life of the party - all are personal qualities that adults recognize instinctively. These socially dominant types, according to repeated studies, also tend to accomplish ...

Infants know what we like best, study finds

July 27, 2017
Behind the chubby cheeks and bright eyes of babies as young as 8 months lies the smoothly whirring mind of a social statistician, logging our every move and making odds on what a person is most likely to do next, suggests ...

DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress

July 27, 2017
Immigrants who came to the United States illegally as small children and who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as DREAMers, are at risk for mental health ...

Negativity, be gone—new online tool can retrain your brain

July 27, 2017
Anxiety and depression can have devastating effects on people's lives. In some cases, the mental disorders lead to isolation, poverty and poor physical health, things that often cascade to future generations.

Research aims to shape more precise treatments for depression in women

July 27, 2017
Among women in the United States, depression is at epidemic levels: Approximately 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year, and more than 12 percent of women can expect to experience depression ...

Very preterm birth not associated with mood and anxiety disorders, new research finds

July 27, 2017
Do very-preterm or very-low-weight babies develop anxiety and mood disorders later in life? Julia Jaekel, assistant professor of child and family studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Dieter Wolke, professor ...

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.