People who swear are typically thought of as rule breakers. Liars are also typically thought of as rule breakers. But swearing, it turns out, is a hallmark of honesty. That’s a fact I find strangely validating, since I curse like a sailor, or rather like the NYC-style entrepreneur I am. (Same difference really, I guess.)
Bring on the Cursing!
A research paper published in the “Social Psychological and Personality Science” journal this year analyzed profanity and honesty in individuals and society. The study found that people who used profanity were more honest and less deceitful to others, and displayed more integrity as a whole.
While profanity can be used for negative behaviors, such as hostility or aggression, and violate social norms about what should be said in the presence of others, profanity can also be a natural, unfiltered expression of emotions like anger or surprise.
No shit! Profanity can be a healthy outlet for honest emotions and honest conversations. That’s what I keep telling the CEO here whenever she tells me to wash my mouth out with soap, dammit! She says it’s unprofessional. And she’s not even a native speaker. Good thing she’s not reading this.
Where’s the Data?
The paper’s research team conducted three studies: the first two to look at individuals and the third for a wider view.
The first study asked online participants to self-rate using a series of questions about their use of profanity and their honesty.
The second study examined Facebook users’ profanity and honesty in their status updates by analyzing the language they used. Apparently the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count method has been shown to detect lies through word choice with 67% accuracy.
The third study compared the use of profanity by people in each US state to the level of integrity recorded in the State Integrity Index. (Interestingly, no US state has a good record of integrity, but the three states with the highest level of integrity are Alaska, California and Connecticut, and the three states with the lowest level of integrity are Delaware, Wyoming and Michigan.) The researchers found that the more people from a particular state used profanity, the higher their state was rated for integrity.
So It’s Time to Swear More?
Fuck yeah! If you’re interested in getting the nasty work out in a foreign language, give us a call – Responsive Translation can help, although we probably will try to talk you out of such a move. It usually doesn’t go over very well in translation. Remember my point about second languages?
We provide translation and interpreting services in more than 150 languages and dialects, with the utmost politeness. And lots of integrity (behind the scenes), ferchrissake.
For more information, please get in touch at 212-355-4455 ext 208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.