Teaching students how to swear can help them to understand language better, a scientist has said.
Neuroscientist Emma Byrne will tell Cheltenham Science Festival that “swearing is part of children’s social development.”
“Learning how to use swearing effectively, with the support of empathetic adults, is far better than trying to ban children from using such language,” Ms Byrne will tell an audience at Cheltenham Ladies’ College next week.
“We try to keep strong language away from kids until they know how to use it effectively. I strongly argue that we should revise this attitude,” she will say, according to The Sunday Times.
“Talking honestly about why people swear helps to demystify not just the words, but also the emotions of the people around them.
“You’re helping them develop that all-important theory of mind. Children need to learn how swearing affects others.”
The science writer’s call for swearing to be acceptable follows research looking at why people in all cultures swear. It found that profanity soothes the brain and even relieves pain.
In one study, Richard Stephens, a Keele University researcher, had volunteers plunge their hands into icy water: once while swearing and once while using a neutral word.
He found they could stay immersed 50 per cent longer when swearing.
* This article was automatically syndicated from The Independent.