It might be socially unacceptable, but an outburst of
swearing after a DIY mishap or stubbing a toe

can actually do some good.

Scientists have discovered that uttering
swear words can help to lessen the
feeling of physical pain.

The study by researchers at Keele University found that
volunteers were able to withstand pain for longer
when they swore compared to when they
used words which were not offensive.

Dr Richard Stephens, who conducted the study at the
university's school of psychology, believes it may
explain why swearing is still common place in
languages around the world.

He suggests that swearing could have evolved as a way of
raising aggression levels and reducing the feeling of
pain to allow our ancestors to flee or fight
back when attacked by predators.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal
NeuroReport, tested 64 students' tolerance to pain
by asking them to submerge their hand in a tub
of ice water for as long as they could while
repeating a series of swear
words of their choice.

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