We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Swearing Can Boost Self-Confidence and Risky Behavior
News

Swearing Can Boost Self-Confidence and Risky Behavior

Swearing Can Boost Self-Confidence and Risky Behavior
News

Swearing Can Boost Self-Confidence and Risky Behavior

Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Swearing Can Boost Self-Confidence and Risky Behavior"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Keele University researchers have found that swearing can increase self-confidence and risk-taking behaviour, as well as boosting physical strength.


Led by Dr Richard Stephens, the team carried out a study which aimed to identify the psychological pathway by which swearing can have beneficial effects on physical tasks. They were particularly interested in whether swearing increased ‘state disinhibition’, which is a state of lowered self-control and lack of restraint.


The study, which has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that participants could perform a chair push-up - lifting oneself from a chair seat using the arms - for longer after repeating a swear word.


Participants also displayed more risk-taking behaviour in an online task involving pumping up a balloon as much as possible without it bursting. Risk-taking behaviour increased by 8% when using swear words whilst pumping up the balloon, compared to using neutral dialogue


The humorous quality of swearing was also found to be an important psychological route for boosting physical strength, akin to ‘letting-go’.


The researchers hope that this evidence can benefit society by helping individuals to improve personal performance, for example gaining increased self-confidence by using swear words as preparation for performing in front of large public audiences.


Dr Stephens said: “Swearing appears to produce a state of ‘hot cognitions’ helping us downplay everyday fears and concerns. This can lead to benefits in some situations, such as physical strength, shown by our participants being able to hold the chair push-up for a longer time after swearing.


“We provided evidence of several possible psychological routes by which this may come about, all related to lowering self-control or ‘letting go’ - but humour, the funny side of swearing, turned out to be the most important of the factors we assessed. Comedians have long known the link between laughter and a well-placed swear word. Our study suggests generating humour may be one element by which swearing can help people in everyday situations, by just ‘going for it’ a little more.”


Reference: Stephens R, Dowber H, Barrie A, Almeida S, Atkins K. Effect of swearing on strength: Disinhibition as a potential mediator. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Published online February 8, 2022:17470218221082656. doi:10.1177/17470218221082657


This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Advertisement