The expletive “fuck” increases pain threshold and tolerance to pain, and made-up words with similar characteristics “fouch” and “twizpipe” does not have this property. It remains unclear what is the mechanism of the effect of obscene language on the perception of pain: in a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the effect of the expletives were oposredovanie no emotional reaction, no distraction.
Several studies have shownthat swearing helps to endure the pain, but why this happens is not clear. There are several hypotheses on the mechanisms of the analgesic effect of swearing. Perhaps obscene vocabulary through emotional arousal triggers the stress response and activates the autonomic nervous system: indeed, the repetition of swear words quickens the pulse and increases the electrical activity of the skin.
Another version causes the analgesic effect of swearing — a distraction. It is known that cognitive processes (including modulation of attention) inhibit areas of the brain that are associated with sensitivity and emotion, and activate the source of endogenous opioids Central gray matter. Perhaps to divert attention helps the novelty and fun of swear words in a linguistic study found outthat the word “fuck” (the most common English expletive) is included in one percent of the most ridiculous words according to participants.
Richard Stevens (Richard Stephens) and Ollie Robertson (Olly Robertson) from Kolskogo University tested how the novelty, the fun and emotion of the words ease the pain. Came up with two new words: one (“fouch”) caused an emotional reaction, and the other (“twizpipe”) sounded funny and would distract the attention of the participants.
The experiment was set as follows: 92 volunteer put his hand in a container of ice water (3-5 ° C) and every three seconds, repeating one of the words: “fuck”, “fouch”, “twizpipe” or a neutral word. Participants were asked to say when they began to feel pain and pull your hand when the pain became unbearable. During the experiment, the volunteers recorded the heart rate; after the testing participants filled out a survey on the level of pain and characteristics of the words that they spoke.
All three of the studied words was seen as much more emotional and funny than checkword (p < 0.001 for f and p <0.05 for “fouch” and “twizpipe”). However, only “fuck” has diverted attention significantly more than the neutral words (p < 0.001). Only it’s a curse, but not fictional words, delayed sensation of pain (increased pain threshold) and increased the time that participants were able to endure it (p < 0.001). Spoken words did not affect the pain level and heart rate.
Using statistical methods, the researchers tested, had an influence on perception of pain subjective characteristics of words. The emotions that caused the word “fuck”, did not predict pain tolerance (though the curse had predicted this setting, and emotional response), the same relationship was observed with the fun of this word. What mediates the effect of swearing on pain perception remains unknown.
New swear words come up not only modern scholars. A variety of obscene language regularly found in Novgorod birchbark letters: for example, in 2016, found a Charter with a previously unknown curse “posek”. Its exact meaning is unknown, but Andrey Zaliznyak suggested that this word could be interpreted as “thief” or “crook.”