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New research reveals that people who curse are more honest than those who don’t
In a new study, researchers from four universities — Cambridge, Stanford, Maastricht (the Netherlands) and Hong Kong — found a positive relationship between the use of profanity and honesty.
Study co-author David Stillwell of the University of Cambridge says some people might think that a person who swears, which is considered a negative social behavior, is also a bad person. But he tells the Daily Mail:
On the other hand, they are not filtering their language so they are probably also not putting their stories about what is going on through similar filters which might turn them into untruths.
He adds that the researchers found that “people who use the language that comes to mind first are less likely to be playing games with the truth.”
The researchers found that people are more likely to use profanity to express themselves and their emotions, rather than using cursing in a negative way or to insult someone.
The research paper was based on the following three studies:
- Study 1: This lab-based study examined the relationship between profanity use and honesty on a widely used lie scale.
- Study 2: This extended Study 1 into real life with a linguistic analysis of social interactions on Facebook.
- Study 3: This study, targeting profanity and honesty at the “society level,” looked at profanity rates by state and compared them with an index of state-level integrity based on such criteria as corruption, ethics and accountability.
In all three studies, “We found a consistent positive relationship between profanity and honesty; profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level, and with higher integrity at the society level,” the authors write.
For more on this topic, check out “Guess Who Is Cussing Up a Storm at Work.”
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