Its f@#$%^g believable - swearing makes you more credible!

November 26th, 2007 - 6:55 pm ICT by admin  

London , Nov 26 (ANI): If you think that using foul language and swear words is indecent and forbidden than you may be highly mistaken, for a research has revealed that swearing makes you more believable.

The researchers found that statements sprinkled with expletives were significantly more likely to be believed than clean versions.

The study was carried out at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

Many of the research volunteers said before the experiment that they expected bad language to be a sign of deceit.

But the new research endorses fair play to the foul-mouthed. The psychologists even go as far as recommending the occasional use of swearwords to improve your credibility.

The study asked a group of 54 students whether they thought themselves more likely to believe a statement if it contained swearwords.

They found that 38 percent thought bad language was a sign of deceit, with only 16 percent thinking it a sign of truth. The rest said it would make no difference.

The students were then split into two groups. One group was asked to read statements containing swearwords. The other group read the same statements minus the colourful language.

One statement was from a suspect denying a crime; the other from a victim of crime. The students had to rate the testimonies for credibility on a scale of one (completely untrue) to 10 (totally true).

Both statements were rated more believable by the students given the four-letter versions. The denial statement with swearwords scored 5.2, compared with 4.2 for the sanitised version. The victim’s unexpurgated statement scored 6.3, compared with 5.1 for the one free of swearwords.

The authors called the distinction “significant”, as swearwords were found to be more credible than the swearword-free testimonies.

“Testimonies containing swearwords were perceived as more credible than swearword-free testimonies. Hence it is concluded that swearing increases believability of statements, the Scotsman quoted the authors, as saying.

They added: “One likely reason is that swearing can be construed as a sign of emotional involvement and thus as a sign of sincerity.

“If one wants to appear credible, it is recommendable to utter an occasional swearword. Although this seemed to be true for statements of suspects and victims, it is not necessarily true for all statements. For example, it seems unlikely that a swearing member of parliament is perceived as credible.”

Though the study was conducted in Dutch, the authors found it to be relevant to other languages, including English.

Robert Brown, a former senior lecturer in psychology at Glasgow University thought that swearing required more emotional involvement.

“The results are very interesting and I would probably agree with their thinking on why it’s believed. I think it shows that swearing indicates more emotional involvement. It shows a great urgency to be believed, but not necessarily that one is telling the truth, he said.

Peter Duff, professor of law at Aberdeen University , said: “It’s all about a statement being like what a person would say, rather than reading like a police account.

An ordinary person would be unlikely to say: ‘I was proceeding in a westerly direction when…’. But someone challenged might well say: ‘I didn’t effing do it’. It depends on the person and context, though a Wee Free minister from the Western Isles might not be expected to swear, he added. (ANI)

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