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Holy F@#$! That Hurt!

October 6, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been busy the last few days, but I have still been collecting interesting science news. Here’s one that really jabbed me. Pun TOTALLY intended.

A study published last year in Neuroreport found that swearing allowed people to withstand pain significantly longer than those who didn’t swear.

Why am I talking about this now? Because this study won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize, a prize awarded to research “that first make people laugh, and then make[s] them think.”

The researchers thought:

The observed pain-lessening (hypoalgesic) effect may occur because swearing induces a fight-or-flight response and nullifies the link between fear of pain and pain perception.

They did measure the heart rates of the subjects in this study, but they did not monitor any other biological effects. Basically they are saying that it is a complicated combination of  real physical effect (increased adrenaline and heart rate) and a simple placebo effect (decreased pain perception).

Whatever the cause, I let loose quite the string of explicits when I stub my toe on the same damn corner of the coffee table at least once a week! Grrr…