Swearing Is A Sign Of Honesty, Says Science

by Christine Organ
Originally Published: 
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New study shows that swearing is associated with honesty

Let’s start with the obvious: parents fucking swear. We swear in our heads. We swear out loud. We swear when we’re out with friends, on social media, and sometimes in front of our kids. We all do at some point or another. In fact, if you’ve never uttered a profanity in your shiny pristine life, you’re a lying liar. Sweary people are honest people. Science says so.

Science already told us that swearing is a sign of intelligence, and we’re not fucking our kids up if we drop a dammit in front of them now and then. We’re tired of being told to talk like a lady, and our love for a well-placed eff bomb is just who we are. We might not have needed another reason to embrace our sweary sides and let go of some guilt, yet here we have it. Because science kicks ass.

In a two-part study titled “Frankly, we do give a damn: The relationship between profanity and honesty,” – which is just about the best name for a study ever – researchers from the Universities of Hong Kong, Stanford, Cambridge and Maastricht looked at the swearing habits of 276 participants and assessed how honest they were in various situations. They found that while liars typically prefer third-person pronouns and negative words in their speech, honest people are more likely to swear. In other words, the most honest people in the study also cussed the most.

The second part of the study involved testing these findings in a real life social context. Enter Facebook. After looking at the Facebook status updates of more than 73,000 people, they came to the same conclusion: honesty was associated with swearing.

“The consistent findings across the studies suggest that the positive relation between profanity and honesty is robust, and that the relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level,” said the study.

According to The Independent, the researchers also found that people were much more likely to swear as a way of expressing themselves and their emotions, instead of swearing to be anti-social or harmful to other people. In other words, we swear because this is who are, not because we want to piss anyone off.

Last year, science told us it’s okay if we swear in front of our kids. A few years ago, science also told us that swearing is a sign of intelligence, and we all know swearing is the only appropriate response to the myriad shitastrophes that come along with parenting and life in general. Because when the shit hits the fan, a goshdarnit or jerkface just doesn’t come close to a dammit all to hell or douchey asshat. Not to mention swearing is empowering AF, and few mantras are as motivating as a boldly stated as Fuck. This. Shit.

We didn’t need another reason to give the pearl clutchers the middle finger and embrace our sweary badassery. Swearing is reward enough. It feels great and it’s fun as hell. A few weeks ago, my son asked me if he could give me the middle finger “just to see how it feels.” Sure, I said, and he cautiously flipped me off.

“This feels so GOOD!” he giggled. Of course it does. I agreed with him and our entire family spent ten minutes giving each other the middle finger and laughing our asses off. It was the most fun we had all week, because sometimes swearing is just what you need.

So while not everyone embraces their inner swearyness, those of us who do cuss like a motherfucker can rest assured that it’s not only a sign of intelligence, but also a sign of honesty.

And if you say otherwise, well, you’re probably lying.

h/t Medical Daily

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