Nothing compares to the satisfaction and relief you feel on cursing out loud when you get hurt. Turns out, doing so actually helps you in dealing with that pain.
A study conducted by a group of language and psychology experts based in the UK explored how effective swear words can be in increasing pain tolerance and pain threshold. It considered all types of swear words – new, old and invented swear words. This study was based on a 2009 research study by Dr. Richard Stephens who found that swearing can increase pain tolerance for a short time.
The new study, funded by pain-reliever Nurofen, aimed to find out if people can increase their pain tolerance in the same manner but use more appropriate words instead.
For the purpose of the study, two new swear words were invented – ‘twizpipe‘ and ‘fouch‘. Language expert Dr. Emma Byrne explained the logic behind these words,
After long discussions, we decided Twizpipe and Fouch were the best socially acceptable swear words, as they mimic real swear words quite closely. Twizpipe mirrors the humorous element of swearing and is fun to say, whereas fouch is harsh-sounding and concise, similar to the existing four-letter swear word.
The study got volunteers to test out the new words, along with a traditional swear-word and a control word while they submerged their hands in ice-water to induce pain. The results found that the new swear words did not increase the pain tolerance like swearing did. The real swear-words were also rated higher in impact as compared to the invented words. Dr Stephens says,
From a young age we typically learn to associate them with high-stress situations and that they are forbidden. The study found that these strong sentiments cannot be mimicked by newly created swear words. Although the words we created, twizpipe or fouch, were shown to be similar to existing swear words, they didn’t cut it when it came to pain relief. Repeating the f-word was the best option for increasing tolerance to pain.
The emotional impact of the f-word was one and a half times more emotional than the new words.