(WTNH) — If you’ve ever used foul language to get that stubborn jar open, a new British research project claims the cursing may have made the difference.
Researchers at Keele University in England two experiments. In the first experiment, 29 participants completed a short test of intense exercise on a stationary bike, after both swearing and not swearing. In the second experiment, 52 participants took part in a hand grip test, again after swearing and not swearing.
The results showed that the participants produced more power if they had sworn in the first experiment and a stronger handgrip if they had sworn in the second.
Dr. Richard Stevens, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Keele University, said that the results point to stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
“We know from our earlier research that swearing makes people more able to tolerate pain. A possible reason for this is that it stimulates the body’s sympathetic nervous system — that’s the system that makes your heart pound when you are in danger. If that is the reason, we would expect swearing to make people stronger too — and that is just what we found in these experiments. But when we measured heart rate and some other things you would expect to be affected if the sympathetic nervous system was responsible for this increase in strength, we did not find significant changes. So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered. We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully.”