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Swearing is harmless, emotional language – study finds

Swearing is a harmless emotional release which could make you feel stronger, researchers claim – though in moderation.

Participants were made to play aggressive computer games and recalled a wider variety of swear words after their session, as well as turning the air blue more often.

Rather than just proving we swear more when we’re angry, the psychologists insisted, the study showed profanity can be an emotional coping mechanism which makes us feel more resilient. And it showed the reasons for swearing were more complicated than simple rudeness, they said.

The psychologists at Keele University in Staffordshire spent several years trying to understand why we swear and what it does to our brains. In the video game study, they said, participants were asked to recall as many profanities as they could before and after playing. Beforehand they could only recall an average of seven, but afterwards the total rose to eight.

Senior lecturer Richard Stephens said: “The video games made people feel more aggressive so their language became more emotional and they swore. We want to use more taboo words when we are emotional. We grow up learning what these words are and using them while we are emotional can help us to feel stronger.

“Some words are more taboo – but the effects can be greater, the stronger the word.” – Daily Mail

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