Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Science & Technology


By Vanessa Megaro

Why is it that when you stub your toe against a door, it only seems satisfying to say a particular 4 letter word? How about when you miss a train and it feels particularly justified to repeat another certain 4 letter word? Fudge or snit doesn’t quite cut it.

Well it turns out that swear words are processed in a completely different part of the brain than regular vocabulary. Usually it is the left side of our brain that processes language and logic, where as our right hemisphere is in charge of emotional response. In most of out daily actions it is our left hemisphere that rules.

However, malediction is associated with a high level of emotional content, therefore we override our left ‘rational’ hemisphere and rely on our right side. We stimulate the limbic system in the brain, in charge of memory, behaviour and emotion and the basal ganglia which controls impulse and motor functions.

It all effectively comes down to evolution. Language was something we developed over time as a species, residing in the realm of higher brain functions, whereas emotions were considered lower brain functions as they were in-built and more of a primal trait. Swearing is somewhere between the two.

But how exactly does this reduce pain? Experiments were carried out to test the theory. One example was done by Dr. Richard Stevens, a psychologist at Keele University who made subjects put their hands into freezing water and found that when subjects were allowed to swear, they were able to tolerate pain more significantly.

The conclusion was that swearing actually triggers the natural fight or flight response we all possess in times of stress, which in turn causes chemicals such as adrenalin and endorphins to be released. These chemicals act as the body’s natural pain relief, letting you concentrate on other more important things, like running away or putting up a fight! Albeit a fight against missed trains and door edges.


Golden light falls in shards around the silhouettes of Standing at the Sky's Edge cast members, each of which are singing at a microphone.


Writer Evelyn Shepphird reviews “Standing at the Sky’s Edge”. Standing at the Sky’s Edge sets Sheffield local Richard Hawley’s music against Sheffeild’s iconic Park...

King's Scientists at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2024. Image courtesy of Alena Lastovko. King's Scientists at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2024. Image courtesy of Alena Lastovko.

Science & Technology

King’s physicists were invited to showcase their work last week at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. Roar News had the chance to...

KCLSU logo KCLSU logo

KCLSU & Societies

Hassan Ali, who received the most votes in this year’s King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) Presidential Election, has been disqualified from taking office...

License: Author: License: Author:


Staff writer Oliver Harrison reports on the Netherlands versus Romania game in the Round of 16 of the 2024 UEFA European Championship. Netherlands beat...

License: Author: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street License: Author: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street


Staff writer Oliver Harrison weighs up the consequences of England manager Gareth Southgate’s decisions regarding his EURO 2024 squad. Gareth Southgate made a gamble...


Unicast Analysts Nazir Awad and Sharif Fatourehchi on Elon Musk’s venture into neurotechnology with his company, Neuralink and what implications it has for the...


Comment Editor Emilia critiques the secondary role of emotions in the education system. I used to think it is an absurd coincidence that deadlines...


                    Online music editor Oscar Davies looks at choral singing, an activity as beneficial to...


  Music therapy is as old as music itself, but now it’s being recognised among medical professionals, says Joe Brookes.   We are all...