No S**t: Science Links Swearing to Verbal Intelligence

In your face, mom. It turns out swearing isn’t a sign of being inarticulate.

In fact, some new science has shown that it can be quite the opposite. Which, truth be told, is what we always f**king suspected.

US-based psychologists Kristin Jay and Timothy Jay recently wrote in the Language Sciences journal that those who swear often actually have a healthy verbal ability.

The study looked at the possibility that fluency is fluency regardless of the subject matter, and found that just because we swear does not mean our general vocabulary suffers.

Participants were asked to say as many swear words as they could think of in one minute. Then the subjects were asked to list things (like animals) in a non-swearing category in the same space of time.

Researchers found that those who could produce the largest number of swear words also produced the largest number of words in the other lists.

This throws a wrench in the popular theory that swearing is an inability to express oneself because of a limited grasp of language.

The co-authors said, “We cannot help but judge others on the basis of their speech. Unfortunately, when it comes to taboo language, it is a common assumption that people who swear frequently are lazy, do not have an adequate vocabulary, lack education, or simply cannot control themselves.

“The overall finding of this set of studies, that taboo fluency is positively correlated with other measures of verbal fluency, undermines the POV [Poverty of Vocabulary] view of swearing. That is, a voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities rather than a cover for their deficiencies.”

The study also showed that a fluency in taboo words positively correlated with the Big Five personality traits neuroticism and openness, whilst negatively correlating with agreeableness and conscientiousness.

So for the foul-mouthed among us, while we may be pretty candid about our insecurities, chances are we won’t give one sh*t about yours.