Friday, November 6, 2009

On Profanity

Let's face it: the Vulture is a potty mouth. Big time. It drives Deadeye bonkers. She thinks it reflects poorly on the kind of person I really am.

Personally, I've never understood what the big deal is with "bad" words. I tend to think of spoken profanities as the equivalent of punctuation in written communication. But Deadeye, my mother, and my in-laws completely disagree. They think it's a terrible thing to use profanity. *shrug*

It's not like I'm proud of my filthy mouth. It has been cause for embarrassment for me for many years. And it's certainly NOT a good representation of my Christian faith. The same mouth I use to praise my Lord I use to call Stamp a **********. Not good.

I've heard it said that the use of profanity reveals a dearth of vocabulary. Yeah? So how many non-profaners do you know who use words like "dearth"? I'll put my vocabulary (in TWO languages, thank you) up against that of any non-swearer anytime.

The reason I bring up the subject is that it turns out that there is actual benefit from using profanity.

Cut your finger? Hurt your leg? Start swearing. It might lessen the pain.

Researchers from the school of psychology at Britain's Keele University have found swearing can make you feel better as it can have a "pain-lessening effect," according to a study published in the journal NeuroReport.

Colleagues Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston, set out to establish if there was any link between swearing and physical pain.

"Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," says Stephens.

"It taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists."

Their study involved 64 volunteers who were each asked to put their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice.

They then repeated the experiment using a more commonplace word that they would use to describe a table.

The researchers found the volunteers were able to keep their hands in the ice water for a longer when swearing, establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance.

Stephens said it was not clear how or why this link existed but it could be because swearing may increase aggression.

"What is clear is that swearing triggers not only an emotional response, but a physical one too, which may explain why the centuries-old practice of cursing developed and still persists today," he said.
Ha! See? I'm not a potty-mouthed loser! I'm an expert in pain management! So there!