Researchers from the school of psychology at Britain's Keele University have found that swearing 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.
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, Reuters reports.
While it is not clear how or why this link exists, the team believes that the pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers our natural 'fight-or-flight' response.
They suggest that the accelerated heart rates of the volunteers repeating the swear word may indicate an increase in aggression, in a classic fight-or-flight response of downplaying a weakness or threat in order to deal with it, BBC News reports.
It does note, however, that folks who want to take advantage of swearing's palliative effect should cut back on cursing when they're not in pain.
"Swearing is emotional language," Dr. Stephens said. "But if you overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment," Daily Views at Runnersworld.com reports.
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