You might want to rethink your New Year’s resolutions if you’ve pledged to swear less, because scientist have found the foul-mouthed among us are the most honest.
In a study titled:
Frankly, we do give a damn: The relationship between profanity and honesty
researchers from the Universities of Hong Kong, Stanford, Cambridge and Maastricht found a link between profanity and honesty.
The researchers say profanity can include sexual references, vulgarity, offensive slang and anything else considered socially inappropriate.
They first asked a group of 276 participants about their swearing habits, as well as how honest they were in different situations, and found the most honest people were also the heaviest swearers.
They also found that people were much more likely to use swearing as a way to express themselves and their emotions, rather than in an anti-social or harmful way towards others.
In a second study the researchers tested these findings in a more real-life setting, by analysing the status updates of more than 73,000 Facebook users.
They measured for honesty (previous research shows liars prefer to use third-person pronouns than first-person ones and more negative words) and profanity.
Again, they found that honest people were more likely to use profane language.
Then, they used previous data to compare the integrity levels of US states with how often they swear – where they found the same conclusion.
The researchers say swearing is often used to express one’s feelings, which suggests people who do this more regularly portray themselves in a more honest light.