Using swear words is a sign of intelligence and creativity, study finds

28 January 2021, 16:30

Using swear words is a sign of intelligence and creativity, study finds
Using swear words is a sign of intelligence and creativity, study finds. Picture: Bravo, Getty Images
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

Knew it.

Good news for serial potty-mouths: Swearing is a sign of intelligence and creativity. In fact, studies have found that swearing actually has a whole load of benefits.

Swearing is often looked down upon and it's sometimes said to be an indication of being uneducated. However, Professor Timothy Jay reckons it can actually be an indication of honesty and creativity.

Professor Jay is professor emeritus of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and he's been studying the use of swear words for more than 40 years. So, he knows a lot about the subject.

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Fuck you concept photo.
Fuck you concept photo. Picture: Getty Images

"The benefits of swearing have just emerged in the last two decades, as a result of a lot of research on brain and emotion, along with much better technology to study brain anatomy," he told CNN.

2015 study, authored by Professor Jay, found well-educated people were better at coming up with swear words than people with less words in their vocabulary.

For the study, participants were asked to list as many words that start with F, A or S in one minute. Next they had to come up with curse words that start with the same three letters. The study found those who came up with the most F, A and S words also managed to produce the most swear words.

"Language is correlated with intelligence. People that are good at language are good at generating a swearing vocabulary," Professor Jay said.

Three 2017 studies also there was a link between cursing and honesty. Professor Jay added: "When you're honestly expressing your emotions with powerful words, then you're going to come across as more honest."

Further research also found that people who cursed had improved tolerance to pain and it was an indication of creativity because swearing uses the right side (or creative side) of the brain.


You officially have permission to swear more.