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Medicine Science

Swearing Provides Pain Relief, Say Scientists 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-two-$#&!@-and-call-me-in-the-%!#@!$& dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Scientific American reports that although cursing is notoriously decried in the public debate, scientists have discovered that swearing may serve an important function in relieving pain. 'Swearing is such a common response to pain that there has to be an underlying reason why we do it,' says Richard Stephens of Keele University in England. A study measured how long college students could keep their hands immersed in cold water. During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word. When swearing, the 67 student volunteers reported less pain and on average endured about 40 seconds longer. How swearing achieves its physical effects is unclear, but the researchers speculate that brain circuitry linked to emotion is involved. Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimeters in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half like the amygdala, an almond-shaped group of neurons that can trigger a fight-or-flight response in which our heart rate climbs and we become less sensitive to pain."
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Swearing Provides Pain Relief, Say Scientists

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  • by catthedd (1182511) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:36AM (#28667557)
    I call bullshit...
    • by Meshach (578918) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:40AM (#28667589)

      I call bullshit...

      Yes, yes, it does sound like a steaming pile. But reading the article they compared people yelling profanities with other people "chanting neutral words". Both subjects had their hands immersed in cold water. It sounds like have an outlet to relieve stress has a lot more to do with the outcome then whatever they said.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Brian Gordon (987471)
        But why do profanities relieve stress while normal words do not? It's a different process in the brain, and that's the point of the study.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          But are they sure the swearing is the cause of that activity in the brain, or is that activity caused by the successful removal of stress which swearing just happens to make easier to achieve. Chanting "neutral" words might in fact have the opposite effect of relieving stress, since you're forcably trying to ignore the fact that YOUR HAND IS HURTING. I didn't RTFA like a true slashdotter, but if they didn't have one, they should have included an extra group of people where were forced to keep their traps sh

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Rich0 (548339)

            Since the TFA doesn't go into the study design I can't be sure how controlled this study was. It sounds like the subjects could choose whether to swear or to chant a neutral word. So, perhaps all they've proven is that the type of personality that makes one endure pain better also makes you more prone to swearing. If they picked 100 people at random, and then randomly assigned each one to the swearing vs neutral groups this would be less of an issue. Then again, it probably wouldn't hurt to do it both w

      • Perhaps it's just the aggression behind the swearing that causes some endorphins to be released. Swearing, to me, is like an intellectual version ofa primordial scream.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        Both subjects had their hands immersed in cold water.

        Why is this still the basis for pain threshold tests? I did this in high school. If you keep your hand in the water long enough, you become accustomed to the cold and can keep it in indefinitely.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Have you tried doing this with a bowl full of really salty water and crushed ice?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Another possibility is that the "swearing" group got to do what came naturally, so they could concentrate on staying in the game. While the "neutral word" group had to focus on some unfamiliar word ("doppelganger", for instance) while simultaneously getting their mitts frozen. Doppelganger, doppelganger, that's way harsh. Or....

        Damn you FUCKING SACK of PHD SHIT!!!

      • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @01:55PM (#28668449) Homepage

        It might also partially explain why people going through (say) cigarette withdraw symptoms are rude motherfuckers. They need a quick and immediate release channel for what they used to relieve via smoking. Then they have to re-learn how to be emotionally pleasant without the drugs.

      • by Phroggy (441)

        Maybe this simply demonstrates that the type of people who would choose a neutral word to say are likely to have a lower tolerance for pain?

        • i think the subjects were instructed to chant a neutral word or a swear word. Not that people who swear have higher pain tolerances than those that are so gosh durn cultured and never use that fricking language, but swearing may increase a pain tolerance.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by noidentity (188756)
        So "swearing provides more pain tolerance than repeating a neutral chant". How about swearing versus yelling "oh wow ow!" or just general non-verbal screaming? If they have trouble finding participants, they can just grab a few politicians and/or lawyers against their will...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CarpetShark (865376)

        they compared people yelling profanities with other people "chanting neutral words".

        Which is entirely the wrong thing to be comparing with. Everyone has heard people say that swearing makes them feel better, and anyone with some insight into their own minds can tell that's probably true, without a study.

        What they SHOULD be comparing with is other things that people say make them feel better -- meditation, and a massage, for instance. If they're all equally effective, then you can say that it's all in the

      • by Idbar (1034346) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @04:58PM (#28669715)
        i was in fact talking about this with a friend recently. I went to one of those studies, where they put one of my feet in ice cold water. I didn't say a single word and the guy making the study told me how I was the one to least complain. Later on I told him I would probably would have complained more if it weren't because of the hot girl he had assiting him (and holdibg the bucket where my foot was in). So, who knows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:36AM (#28667561)
    Fucking shit, the Javascript on this fucking site is too fucking slow. Seriously. It's fucking horrible. Tons of pauses for no apparent reason for simple fucking basic tasks like showing a text box, sitting there and mocking you. They're laughing at you because you think it's bullshit but you stick around for it. End this madness! AHH MAKE THE DELAYS STOP!! Maybe my swearing will relieve the pain of fucking poorly coded JS.
    • How come it takes soooo long to load the preview? But if you go back to edit you comment it is almost instant?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Because Rob Malda and his web monkeys couldn't code their ways out of a wet paper sack.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tubal-Cain (1289912)
          I doubt many other people could, either. If you are trying to code your way out of a paper sack, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eric-x (1348097)

        Maybe it's to prevent idiots from posting too many comments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by skeeto (1138903)
        It does a port scan of your IP, to check or you being an open proxy or something. If you want to see it for yourself throw up a webserver, post a comment here, then check your logs. Slashdot will have taken a peak at it.
      • by shentino (1139071)
        Maybe because you're not downloading everything again? Slashdot is a high traffic site after all...perhaps bandwidth is a little tight at the server.
    • by hattig (47930) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:30PM (#28667941) Journal

      +1 Motherfucking Truth

    • I don't have a lot of delays, but my graphics card clocks up to full speed when scrolling Slashdot in Firefox, and that's saying something :D...

      Oh, and have I mentioned the momentary Firefox lock-ups when loading Slashdot articles with 200+ comments? Boo Slashdot. Bring on multithreaded Firefox!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gyrogeerloose (849181)

        I don't have a lot of delays, but my graphics card clocks up to full speed when scrolling Slashdot in Firefox, and that's saying something

        Yeah--Slashdot is the only text-based Web site that makes the fans on my laptop run fast enough to be audible. Usually the only online activity that does that is watching long videos on YouTube.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:38AM (#28667581)

    Physical pain is easily overcome through the use of drugs. It is also controllable through meditation and other mind-tricks which move the focus of the mind and body from the pain to something else.

    But what about emotional pain? Should I keep calling her and swearing at her until I feel better? I don't feel better so far.

    • by bsDaemon (87307)
      No, that's what bottles of whiskey and loaded firearms are for -- the age old treatment for a broken heart.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brian Gordon (987471)
      Bad analogy. This has nothing to do with long term happiness, it's just resisting immediate pain.
    • by WeirdJohn (1170585) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:40PM (#28668735)

      I beg to differ on your first point. I have CRPS, and as a result know a bit about physical pain. Over the years I have been on prescription Tramadol, Morphine, Oxycontin, Fentanyl, Gabapentin, Lyrica and Ketamine. I also get periodic blocks, which are injections of Lignocaine to ganglia. And thats not counting injections of Phenol to destroy nerves, Botox and steroids.

      Only the anaesthetics actually stop pain (Ketamine and Lignocaine), and have other sides effects. Nerve destruction doesnt last. The AEDs reduce pain by reducing the firing of every nerve in the body, including the CNS, so there are no orgasms and your memory suffers.

      Narcotics don't actually stop or reduce the pain. What they do is you don't have to care about it any more. And they have their own side effects, not the least being that you no longer care about the things you should care about. Even if smacked off my gourd on Fentanyl (which is a horrible drug), if I focus on my pain it's still there, but I just don't care about it. Narcotics reduce or eliminate the affect, not the effect.

      Pain is not "easily" overcome chemically. There is a price to be paid. Mind tricks only work to a partial extent, and you can't keep your attention fixed on something else all the time without tripping over things and having accidents.

      I find it interesting that swearing is shown to be efficacious, as it shows that the emotional release works. I have to wonder if swearing releases encephalins.

  • Selection Bias? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orkybash (1013349) <tim.bocekNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:46AM (#28667641)
    "During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word."

    So they are letting people self-select themselves into the experimental and control groups... doesn't this bias the experimental results pretty badly? Wouldn't it have been more effective to ask a group specifically to cuss their head off and ask a group specifically to refrain from swearing?
    • Re:Selection Bias? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday July 12, 2009 @01:43PM (#28668381) Homepage Journal

      I was wondering that myself -- obviously if they were self-selecting, the results are worthless. (Or rather, they tell us something interesting, but that something isn't what the article claims.) So I read the journal article, and speaking as a biostatistician, I'm pretty happy with the study design. They did in fact randomize into experimental and control groups, and did a repeated measures design, i.e., all participants were in both swearing and non-swearing groups but the order was randomized, so one subject might be in the swearing group first and then the non-swearing group, while another might be in non-swearing and then swearing. If you happen to be a student or faculty at a school with a library with access to the journal, it's worth reading; it's a nice, almost textbook example of how to report this kind of work.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:48AM (#28667661)
    Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior. Any risk taking can generate some adrenaline. The adrenaline makes it easier to tolerate the pain.

    It's like whenever I hear the phrase "no new taxes on anyone making under $250k." I just curse loudly enough to make my dogs leave the room, and I feel 1% better.
    • SIt's like whenever I hear the phrase "no new taxes on anyone making under $250k." I just curse loudly enough to make my dogs leave the room, and I feel 1% better.

      Now you have me cursing... Thanks for that.

    • Pain vocalization (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:10PM (#28667839) Homepage

      How do you explain swearing to yourself? I spent many nights during the past month pacing around my apartment with worsening cancer pain. Sometimes it got bad enough to elicit yelps and curses. There was nobody else around to give me an adrenaline rush from risky social behavior. It hurt, I swore, I felt a little better.

      I also discovered that singing to myself helps with tolerating pain. I was laid out still on a hard radiation table for an hour. The first ten minutes were easy but the pain got worse and worse as I stayed in that one position. Since I couldn't move, I tried moaning to myself - which helped a little. On the third session I tried humming and singing along with my iPod, and found that was even more effective at helping me endure the pain to get the treatment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by weicco (645927)

        I once had a nasty inflammation in my guts after a caecum surgery. The doctor managed to burst it when it was still inside. I was released from the hospital next morning and the stomach pain started some hours after. And it hurt like hell! I've never felt anything like that. But what I discovered was that joking helps. When I got other people to laugh I (almost) forgot my stomach pain.

        And then the sweet, sweet painkillers when I finally got back to the hospital (had to drive 10 km there, ambulance refused t

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior. Any risk taking can generate some adrenaline. The adrenaline makes it easier to tolerate the pain.

      I disagree with your hypothesis. Swearing when you're alone helps alleviate pain as well. It may well be linked to adrenaline, but probably has nothing to do with the chance of being overheard. I further disbelieve your premise because I swear in public constantly and think nothing of it. That may make me lowbrow, but I STILL find that swearing helps alleviate pain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScentCone (795499)
        I disagree with your hypothesis. Swearing when you're alone helps alleviate pain as well.

        Swearing when you're alone is only swearing because... you think of it as swearing. Which means that the part of your brain that's choosing and using those words is doing it in that context: knowing that they're words set aside for a specific sort of expression.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          Much of the point of the article is that in fact you are NOT thinking of it as swearing... it's not thinking in the same way that choosing your words and speaking is, because it comes from a different part of the brain. One of that part's functions (or side effects) seems to be the imperative to cuss and swear. Sometimes I make incoherent noises instead of actually swearing, I wonder if they come from the same part of the brain? (You know, the Tazmanian Devil razzle frazzle dialect...)

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:59PM (#28668161) Homepage Journal

      Swearing out loud in front of other people can carry some baggage and consequence. It's risky social behavior.

      Only if you dick around fucking prudes.

  • ... when it misbehaves! I'm reducing the pain of the experience.

  • I'm sure this must be a relief to George Carlin .. he must be the happiest man on ...

    what?

    Dead you say?

    Well, at least his legacy lives on.

    Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, CockSucker, MotherFucker, and Tits

    I feel better already.

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:55AM (#28667713) Homepage Journal

    Okay, I guess I'd best get my daily dose:

    Slashdot, fucking fix your fucking broken site, or fire the fucking incompetent fool doing the coding.

    • Disable CSS for the site, or just block c.fsdn.com. Makes viewing the site a fucking breeze, with almost instant loading and rendering, even on ancient browsers.
  • the amygdala, an almond-shaped group of neurons that can trigger a fight-or-flight response in which our heart rate climbs and we become less sensitive to pain

    It also happens to look like something out of Dragonball [wikipedia.org]

  • Aphasia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:03PM (#28667779) Homepage

    I've heard of people who are left unable to speak (due to a stroke or other brain trauma) still being able to curse and swear like sailors. This does seem to indicate that swearing is linked to something more than just the speech center.

    • Re:Aphasia (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Reziac (43301) * on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:34PM (#28668701) Homepage Journal

      My sister has an opposite reaction. When she encounters something swearworthy (such as hammering her thumb), she puffs up like she's about to explode, and can't get a word out. I'll come up and say "Shit fuck damn hell sonuvabitch" and it's like someone let the air out of my sister -- and she feels better even tho she didn't do the swearing!!

      So... apparently swearing via proxy also works.

    • I've heard of people who are left unable to speak (due to a stroke or other brain trauma) still being able to curse and swear like sailors.

      When my grandfather was dying of Parkinson's Disease he gradually lost all his speech facilities. At the very end, the only words he was able to speak were obscenities. Full disclosure: he was a sailor, on one of the last American flagged square riggers operating commercially on the west coast.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tverbeek (457094)
      That's exactly what happened with my boyfriend. He'd had an aneurysm bleed followed by surgery and an ischemic stroke (from his circulatory system overreacting to the bleed). In the days immediately afterword, he couldn't produce single words, even simple nouns or his own name. But when they pulled out his nasogastric tube, he let out a string of anglo saxon that briefly brought a smile to my face. Definitely not a standard linguistic function. Incidentally, over the following week as his ability to sp
  • There's a catch (Score:3, Informative)

    by confused one (671304) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:10PM (#28667837)

    There is a catch, though: The more we swear, the less emotionally potent the words become, Stephens cautions. And without emotion, all that is left of a swearword is the word itself, unlikely to soothe anyone's pain.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      That's why we've got creativity; new swear-words can be added. And of course, your mind gets dirtier in the process. Those same words should work just fine (just like "darn" works for some Christians, etc.).

  • Wow, that's good news for the folks at "Viz" : http://www.viz.co.uk/books.html [viz.co.uk] or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/images/095485778X/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=266239&s=books [amazon.co.uk]

    Maybe Dr House should just swear more, and then he wouldn't need so much Vicodin?

    Now you just need to convince those around you that there is a medical reason (other than Tourette's Syndrome) for your chronic swearing . . .

  • Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimeters in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by elashish14 (1302231)

      See: Copralalia [wikipedia.org]

      Swearing feels good. That's why we do it. Not surprising that some people with Tourette's do it uncontrollably.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:28PM (#28667929) Homepage Journal

    These effects of making foul expletives show why it's more properly called "cursing" than "swearing". Cursing is a verbal counterattack on the source of the pain, which is more like the practice of placing a curse on an enemy than the practice of making a holy vow - because the vow here is profane. I expect researchers will find that cursing puts the curser in an attack state that suppresses the experience of pain. I also expect we'll find that cursing releases physical and mental stress, relaxing physical and mental parts of us so they can return to normal sensation, not the disarray that is the basis of our feeling pain to begin with.

    On the US East Coast, we call it "cursing". I know on the West Coast they call it "swearing", and evidently do in the UK. The East Coast is known for its advanced research, typically in the streets, in coping with pain of all sorts, especially by talking. Maybe once they get the right names on these effects, they'll be able to use our informal groundwork to curse better, or perhaps an upgrade to swear off cursing entirely, just as bandaids have replaced blisters.

  • Hm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by that IT girl (864406) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:34PM (#28667971) Journal
    They didn't mention it in the study, but I have a suspicion that the volume of the word also helps. Because it seems to hurt much more when it's dark and you are trying not to wake anybody up when you stub your toe and furiously whisper "fuck fuck fuckitty fuck!" to yourself (or maybe only I do that?) However, even if you are all alone (removing the "ooh I said a dirty word in public" adrenaline rush people claim) and you yell it at the top of your lungs, it really does seem to help. :D
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by inwo42 (1245506)
      Would this be similar to the martial art kiai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiai [wikipedia.org])? When the practitioner strikes (or takes a blow) the "kiai" helps. I'm not sure if cursing would be a similar use of energy, but I know that "shit" and "fuck" seem to have much more power than "shoot" or "frick". Perhaps the breath and energy required to project the words are similar to that of the "kiai".
  • Coprolalia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uassholes (1179143) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:48PM (#28668079)

    It's a shame that no mention was made in TFA to coprolalia ("the spontaneous utterance of socially objectionable or taboo words or phrases": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprolalia [wikipedia.org]), which is one of the symptoms of Tourette syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome).

    It seems to me that there must be some deep psychological need for letting rip with a few choice words and phrases.

  • What is the most common subject matter for which swearing is about?

    1) Domestic quarrels
    2) computer usage
    3) microsoft
    3) other (list)

  • cursing is notoriously decried in the public debate

    Kindest sirs,

    I am concerned, due to the nature of the language which you have utilised upon this occasion, that you may in fact be referring to an article from around the turn of the century.

    Your faithful and humble servant,
    YourExperiment, esq.

  • 'nuff said, cocksuckers.

    (Can you tell I've been re-watching Deadwood lately? ;-)

  • ... the replies to all my /. posts.
  • This is why I rely on statistics.

  • test #1: (Score:4, Funny)

    serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now serenity now

    hmmm

    test #2:

    FUCK!

    no... same relief, just faster

  • Wrongsies (Score:4, Informative)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:51PM (#28668801) Journal

    The conclusion is OK, the details presented suffer. That's common in pop-science writing, and sadly increasingly common in SciAm.

    Left side = language: Based on the largest group of similar orientation, right handed males. Not even a majority -- 40%. Left handed males are right-side language almost the same proportion but are few overall. There are 'ipsilateral language' (same side as dominant hand, as opposed to 'contralateral', other-side), as well as 'undifferentiated', with language capability on both sides. Females are somewhat similar in breakdown but more undifferentiated overall. Also, the generalization is for non-tonal based languages such as English. See "right/other side" below.

    Amygdala is "under the right": The amygdala is bilateral, with left and right parts. The right part is however functionally predisposed to processing stress handling behavior http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6SYP-4CT63XM-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=955088512&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=7d34a0fd5e2952f900c2698ce0abe684 [sciencedirect.com] .

    Left cortex vs. right deep: All language functions are handled in the outer few millimeters of the brain, the cortex. Some processes may be driven by deep structures, but all higher order processing relies on cortical activity.

    Right/other side cortex: Opposite (or mixed with, in 'undifferentiated' brains) the language centers there is an equally employed structure that controls "prosidy", or emotional processing, understanding and expression in language. It is more oriented to tonal processing making it central to music as well as to tonal-based languages. "Right side" or prosidic region damage can result in flat monotone response to expression about both winning the lottery and death of a loved one. Or it can result in inappropriate response, such as laughter, to everything.

    If you consider the necessity of 'other-side' processing in tonal language and the large population that uses it, the western/English, right handed, males, contralateral language center "dominance" becomes a great deal less world wide (there are brains world wide, honest) than the 40% usually quoted in western language research literature and texts.

    Moving the expresssion of distress from the language structure dominant area to the prosidic/emotional area does tap into underlying emotion processing. Then again, so would singing. I'd like to see replication with singing instead of cursing -- betcha it's similar in outcome. Evidence: stuttering is stress based; stutters frequently don't stutter when they sing, ask (according to his belt buckle) M-M-M-M-Mel Tillis. And, a naive hypothesis: I'd bet that while those that use tonal languages may curse in pain and such, they are far more likely to use coherent language with stress (in both senses) placed in the tonal aspect of what they're expressing. Any speakers or Chinese dialects or other east Asian languages care to comment?

    Lastly, an aside: The 'left side' language centers make the brain larger on the left. This is taken as a dominance of language processing over other kinds. However (1) chimps have the same assymetry, with the same proportion of 'other-sided-language', larger on the right, as with humans; (2) cortical localization is both redundant (more than one area can do the job) and plastic (one can take over when another fails); and (3) the amount of cortex devoted to something implies it requires that much effort. The same amount of processing and behavioral control can be handled by smaller areas when the processing is made mo

  • How do you think ASSpirin got it's name?
  • Not only that... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:31PM (#28670011)

    Swearing can transfer pain. From the person in pain, to the person being sweared at.

    On a more serious note, I believe screaming and crying are also effective, which are both natural reactions to pain. In severe cases, the sufferer can simply pass out, which might suggest the body knows more about pain tolerance than we do.

    It is also said that the anticipation of pain can be just as horrific or worse psychologically than pain itself. Hence torture looses its effectiveness as the unpredictable subsides and the ends appears nearer.

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