Monday, July 13, 2009

Profanity for Pain Relief?

Thanks to this recent study, now we all have an excuse to swear! According to the findings, cursing not only is an expression of agony, but also a means to pain relief. I must admit my reservations about the experimental results. In a race to see who could keep their hands in uncomfortably cold water, subjects were allowed to mutter an expletive of their choice or use a neutral word. IMHO, the free use of profanity in the experiment -- as opposed to any social situation -- could have created intrigue or amusement in the swearing subjects, which in turn swayed the results in thier favour.

However, I did like Steven Pinker's theory that "swearing taps into the defensive reflex in which an animal that is suddenly injured or confined erupts in a furious struggle, accompanied by an angry vocalization, to startle or intimidate an attacker."

What's the verdict? Cursing is good for you if you mean it with vengeance. Don't over do it though, as the soothing effects will wear out if swearing becomes a routine lacking in emotion.


- PTS

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