Swear off PainA new study published in the journal NeuroReport finds that swearing increases pain tolerance, especially in women.

British college students were asked to hold their hands in cold water for as long as they could while either repeating a neutral word like brown or square to describe the table or their favorite curse word with the “S” & “F” words being the most popular. Men who cursed held out 35% longer than those who didn’t. For women the affect was even greater. Researchers theorizes that’s because women tend to curse less, but don’t forget these are British women!

Psychologist Richard Stephens explains, “Research indicates that if people are sufficiently afraid of pain, they will show a ‘fight or flight’ response, which increases their pain tolerance. Similarly, it is possible that swearing evokes an emotion — not fear, but aggression — and this emotion also triggers the ‘flight or flight’ response.” Researchers say that response downplays “feebleness in favour of a more pain-tolerant machismo.”

So the next time you’re in the dentist chair try dropping some S & F bombs. Don’t worry, they’ll just think you really hate ducks.

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