Swearing is good. People who use cuss words often may be more honest
Profanity, often used to express unfiltered feelings and sincerity, can be positively associated with honesty.sex and relationships Updated: Jan 17, 2017 18:37 IST
Are you offended by people who use profanities? They may be more honest than others, say scientists who found that those who frequently swear are less likely to be associated with lying and deception.
Profanity is obscene language which, in some social settings is considered inappropriate and unacceptable. It often refers to language that contains sexual references, blasphemy or other vulgar terms. It is usually related to the expression of emotions such as anger, frustration or surprise. However, profanity can also be used to entertain and win over audiences.
As dishonesty and profanity are both considered deviant they are often viewed as evidence of low moral standards. On the other hand, profanity can be positively associated with honesty, researchers said.
It is often used to express unfiltered feelings and sincerity. “The relationship between profanity and dishonesty is a tricky one. Swearing is often inappropriate but it can also be evidence that someone is telling you their honest opinion,” said David Stillwell, from the University of Cambridge in the UK. “Just as they aren’t filtering their language to be more palatable, they’re also not filtering their views,” Stillwell said.
Researchers set out to gauge people’s views about this sort of language in a series of questionnaires which included interactions with social media users. In the first questionnaire 276 participants were asked to list their most commonly used and favourite swear words.
They were also asked to rate their reasons for using these words and then took part in a lie test to determine whether they were being truthful or simply responding in the way they thought was socially acceptable. Those who wrote down a higher number of curse words were less likely to be lying.
A second survey involved collecting data from 75,000 Facebook users to measure their use of swear words in their online social interactions.
The research found that those who used more profanity were also more likely to use language patterns that have been shown in previous research to be related to honesty, such as using pronouns like “I” and “me”. The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
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First Published: Jan 17, 2017 18:36 IST