New Study Suggests That People Who Curse Are More Honest

Well, well, well.

Profanity may not be welcome in the higher circles of society, but research has shown that it may well serve a higher purpose. Studies done over the years suggest that people who swear are generally more intelligent, have larger vocabularies, and can deal better with emotional and physical stress. Now, a new study reports that people who curse are likelier to be more honest than those who don't. 

There's a whole lot of research that come to opposing conclusions about profanity. Some studies connect swearing to antisocial traits, while others gather that it is a genuine expression of strong emotions. Citing these conflicting perspectives, a team of researchers from the UK, the U.S., Hong Kong, and the Netherlands set out find an answer.

Laying out their research in a paper published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, the team found that in three studies they conducted, "a higher rate of profanity use was associated with more honesty."

Dr. David Stillwell, a lecturer in Big Data Analytics at Cambridge University and a co-author on the paper, said:

The relationship between profanity and dishonesty is a tricky one. Swearing is often inappropriate but it can also be evidence that someone is telling you their honest opinion. Just as they aren't filtering their language to be more palatable, they're also not filtering their views. 

Researchers, however, took care to note that their findings were only "a first step to examine profanity and honesty enacted in naturalistic settings, using large samples, and extending findings from the individual level to a look at the implications for society." While plenty more research needs to be done on this topic, perhaps the profanity-proficient among us can find solace in the science that says they're being true to their feelings — at least on some level. 

Cover image via Shutterstock.com

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