In her book, 'Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language,' Dr. Emma Byrne, a scientist in the field of artificial intelligence, explains how swearing could help students understand the language better.
No matter how good a parent you are, there must have been moments you let a swear word or two slip from your lips. And if we're being completely honest, it happens. However, there are many other ways to damage your child apart from swearing and guess what science backs it up. In her book, Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, Dr. Emma Byrne, a scientist in the field of artificial intelligence, explains how swearing could help students understand the language better. Furthermore, she links the use of cuss words to better credibility, a robust vocabulary, and a way to help them process and handle their anger, as per a report by The Sunday Times.
"Swearing is part of children's social development," said the self-dubbed "Sweary Scientist," according to the outlet. While attending the UK’s Cheltenham Science Festival, Byrne noted, "We try to keep strong language away from kids until they know how to use it effectively but I strongly argue that we should revise this attitude." Similarly in her book, Byrne reveals that swearing has actually shown signs of reduced anxiety along with lowered effects of physical pain. It also helps trauma victims recover language while promoting "human cooperation" in children, she added.
While it might be too big a leap for parents to allow their kids to swear in front of them, it could be useful, according to Byrne. "Learning how to use swearing effectively, with the support of empathetic adults, is far better than trying to ban children from using such language," she said. In addition to this, the swearing expert and scientist also referred to a particular study that interestingly enough found this method to be much more effective in increasing one's tolerance level while experiencing pain, than the ones who simply shout out neutral words.
The experiment was conducted by a psychologist and author of Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad, Richard Stephens, according to WIRED. His study subjects were actually 67 of his undergraduate students at Keele University in Staffordshire, England. He managed to convince them to keep their hands in icy cold water for as long as they can, not just once but twice. While they were asked to swear (one particular word) loudly in one of the experiments, the other required them not to swear at all instead use one neutralized word to keep it fair. As it turns out, subjects who swore while their hands were immersed in the icy-water lasted 50 percent longer as opposed to the other.
The experiment also showed how their heart rates went up which took their mind off the pain they were feeling. "Pain used to be thought of as a purely biological phenomenon, but actually pain is very much psychological. The same level of injury will hurt more or less in different circumstances," said Stephens. This revelation certainly doesn't give parents and teachers a free pass to curse every now and then. But teaching kids that it's okay to swear at particular moments and that it could be beneficial for everyone's mental health might just be a good thing, i.e. according to the above-mentioned science.