Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Cussing and Jealousy

If you can't cuss in a Waffle House, I'm not sure where that leaves us as a society.

Sometimes I wish I had become a behavioral science researcher rather than a clinician. Here’s an example why.

In a psychological study, volunteers were asked to hold a hand in a bucket of ice water for as long as they could stand. One group was asked to repeat a neutral word; the other group was allowed to use profanity. They wanted to find out which group had the best tolerance. One guess– which group tolerated pain better?

Studies like this renew and invigorate my faith in humanity. That academic institutions and funding sources are willing to pay people to put on what is, in effect, a colossal prank, shows that a spirit of freewheeling fun still lives in the behavioral sciences. If you didn’t correctly pick the folks who cussed for tolerating pain better, you should get out more. Either that or hit your hand with a hammer while doing home improvement.

For those who are interested in finding the study,

But next time you’re dealing with something annoying, frustrating, or painful, and you cuss a blue streak– just know that science is in your corner. Oh– and the jealousy part? That’s me, being jealous I didn’t become a researcher.  !@#$%^&*(*)&+={$}???\!@


Map graphic is from & the story is interesting in an unrelated kind of way.


About jamesmatter

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in private practice in San Francisco. I work with adults, adolescents, and couples, with focus on substance use and abuse and co-occurring disorders (having both a mental illness and an addiction).
This entry was posted in behavioral health, Distress tolerance, Emotions, Feelings, Frustration, humor, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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