We have all been there. Fallen while snowboarding, dropped a dumbbell on our foot, or hit the baseball with the low end of the bat-- and let that four letter word fly out into the air like a fighter jet at war. Fear not, you are not alone. A recent study at UK's Keele University proves that swearing may dull the pain.
By Melissa Dahl
Keele University asked participants for five words they'd likely use after hitting their thumb with a hammer; the first word listed would be their go-to profanity during the experiment. (They were also asked to list five boring words -- ones they'd use to describe a table.)
Participants were then instructed to submerge their unclenched hand in a container of 41-degree water, and keep it there -- while repeatedly cursing -- for as long as they could.
What's surprising is that the researchers had thought that swearing would make the cold water feel much colder, lowering the participants' tolerance for pain and heightening their perception of it. "In fact, the opposite occurred -- people withstood a moderately to strongly painful stimulus for significantly longer if they repeated a swear word rather than a non-swear word," write the team, led by Keele University psychologist Richard Stephens, in the journal Neuroreport.
What does that mean for you? It's normal and okay to let curse words slip out when you are in pain, heck it may even help!
Image by: Cameron Whitman / Getty Images/Vetta
4/20/2011 at 2:20 PM