If you’re anything like me, you’re prone to turning the air blue from time to time. It could be anything that sparks it, from missing your bus by seconds, or getting your hand caught in the door as you close it behind you.
There are a lot of detractors out there who see cursing like this as a sign of low intellect, or being unrefined. You might think that it’s mostly uneducated people who resort to swearing words when they talk, but a scientific study seems to suggest that, in fact, the smartest of us are prone to swearing a lot more.
A couple of expert psychologists named Kristin Joy and Timothy Jay, who work at Marist College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts respectively, think that the smartest of us are going to be as likely to swear as most other people.
Their study has found that the ability to make up some very creative swear words is very much related to having a high proficiency in vocabulary and fluency. They have concluded that people with high IQ levels are those who are more adept at coming up with some really novel swear terms.
“People who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately,” said the researchers in their study. “The ability to make nuanced distinction indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge.”
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your friend who can’t get through a sentence without dropping an F-bomb is a future Einstein in the making, but the study still makes for interesting reading.
The study looked into the behavior of people on social media sites like Facebook. The researchers found that there is substantial data that suggests that people who are honest are also those who tend to swear a lot – they maintain very unfiltered personalities and they don’t typically like to live life behind a ‘mask’, so to speak.
The psychologists have also said that people who swear a lot are more comfortable with expressing themselves. I’ve always said that cursing is often just an expression of emotion, which can add emphasis to the right part of a sentence – I guess the science has backed me up this time!
So, next time a friend or family member calls you out for cussing too much, remind them of this study!