Experiments

Swearing/Pain

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: No Pain, No Gain"
DCL

Finding: CONFIRMED

Explanation: A 2009 study claimed that swearing comes with the positive side effect of improving your ability to withstand pain. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage unleashed their potty mouths to find out whether the "grin and swear it" theory holds true.

To establish their thresholds, the MythBusters employed a pain-induction technique commonly used by researchers called the cold pressor test. Essentially, participants anchor their arms in ice water until they can't stand the freezing pain any longer. For the first round, the MythBusters' five guinea pigs took ice-water arm baths while reading off a list of non-curse words. Then, they repeated the process while swearing up a storm.

Pained participants' time trials showed that spewing expletives indeed increases suffering stamina by an average of 30 percent. But though the confirmed myth — and a catalog of curse words — might help people bear pain better, folks should take care not to offend anyone's ears in the process.

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