Swearing as a response to pain: A cross-cultural comparison of British and Japanese participants

Swearing as a response to pain: A cross-cultural comparison of British and Japanese participants AbstractBackground and aimsResearch suggests swearing can moderate pain perception. The present study assessed whether changes in pain perception due to swearing reflect a “scripting” effect by comparing swearing as a response to pain in native English and Japanese speakers. Cognitive psychology denotes a ‘script’ to be a sequence of learnt behaviours expected for given situations. Japanese participants were included as they rarely, if ever, swear as a response to pain and therefore do not possess an available script for swearing in the context of pain. It was hypothesised that Japanese participants would demonstrate less tolerance and more sensitivity to pain than English participants, and – due to a lack of an available script of swearing in response to pain – that Japanese participants would not experience swearword mediated hypoalgesia.MethodsFifty-six native English (mean age = 23 years) and 39 Japanese (mean age = 21) speakers completed a cold-pressor task whilst repeating either a swear on control word. A 2 (culture; Japanese, British) × 2 (word; swear; non-swear) design explored whether Japanese participants showed the same increase in pain tolerance and experienced similar levels of perceived pain when a swearing intervention was used as British participants. Pain tolerance was assessed by the number of seconds participants could endure of cold-pressor exposure and self-report pain measurements. Levels of perceived pain were assessed using a 120-mm horizontal visual analogue scale anchored by descriptors in the participant’s native language of “no pain” (left) and “terrible pain” (right). The participant was asked to mark a 10 mm vertical line to indicate overall pain intensity. The score was measured from the zero anchor to the participant’s mark.ResultsJapanese participants reported higher levels of pain (p< 0.005) and displayed lower pain tolerance than British participants (p<0.05). Pain tolerance increased in swearers regardless of cultural background (p < 0.001) and no interaction was found between word group and culture (p = 0.96), thereby suggesting that swearing had no differential effect related to the cultural group of the participant.ConclusionsThe results replicate previous findings that swearing increases pain tolerance and that individuals from an Asian ethnic background experience greater levels of perceived pain than those from a Caucasian ethnic background. However, these results do not support the idea of pain perception modification due to a “scripting” effect. This is evidenced as swearword mediated hypoalgesia occurs irrespective of participant cultural background. Rather, it is suggested that modulation of pain perception may occur through activation of descending inhibitory neural pain mechanisms.ImplicationsAs swearing can increase pain tolerance in both Japanese and British people, it may be suggested that swearword mediated hypoalgesia is a universal phenomenon that transcends socio-cultural learnt behaviours. Furthermore, swearing could be encouraged as an intervention to help people cope with acute painful stimuli. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scandinavian Journal of Pain de Gruyter

Swearing as a response to pain: A cross-cultural comparison of British and Japanese participants

Loading next page...
 
/lp/degruyter/swearing-as-a-response-to-pain-a-cross-cultural-comparison-of-british-4inyalV0cs
Publisher
De Gruyter
Copyright
© 2017 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain
ISSN
1877-8860
eISSN
1877-8879
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.07.014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractBackground and aimsResearch suggests swearing can moderate pain perception. The present study assessed whether changes in pain perception due to swearing reflect a “scripting” effect by comparing swearing as a response to pain in native English and Japanese speakers. Cognitive psychology denotes a ‘script’ to be a sequence of learnt behaviours expected for given situations. Japanese participants were included as they rarely, if ever, swear as a response to pain and therefore do not possess an available script for swearing in the context of pain. It was hypothesised that Japanese participants would demonstrate less tolerance and more sensitivity to pain than English participants, and – due to a lack of an available script of swearing in response to pain – that Japanese participants would not experience swearword mediated hypoalgesia.MethodsFifty-six native English (mean age = 23 years) and 39 Japanese (mean age = 21) speakers completed a cold-pressor task whilst repeating either a swear on control word. A 2 (culture; Japanese, British) × 2 (word; swear; non-swear) design explored whether Japanese participants showed the same increase in pain tolerance and experienced similar levels of perceived pain when a swearing intervention was used as British participants. Pain tolerance was assessed by the number of seconds participants could endure of cold-pressor exposure and self-report pain measurements. Levels of perceived pain were assessed using a 120-mm horizontal visual analogue scale anchored by descriptors in the participant’s native language of “no pain” (left) and “terrible pain” (right). The participant was asked to mark a 10 mm vertical line to indicate overall pain intensity. The score was measured from the zero anchor to the participant’s mark.ResultsJapanese participants reported higher levels of pain (p< 0.005) and displayed lower pain tolerance than British participants (p<0.05). Pain tolerance increased in swearers regardless of cultural background (p < 0.001) and no interaction was found between word group and culture (p = 0.96), thereby suggesting that swearing had no differential effect related to the cultural group of the participant.ConclusionsThe results replicate previous findings that swearing increases pain tolerance and that individuals from an Asian ethnic background experience greater levels of perceived pain than those from a Caucasian ethnic background. However, these results do not support the idea of pain perception modification due to a “scripting” effect. This is evidenced as swearword mediated hypoalgesia occurs irrespective of participant cultural background. Rather, it is suggested that modulation of pain perception may occur through activation of descending inhibitory neural pain mechanisms.ImplicationsAs swearing can increase pain tolerance in both Japanese and British people, it may be suggested that swearword mediated hypoalgesia is a universal phenomenon that transcends socio-cultural learnt behaviours. Furthermore, swearing could be encouraged as an intervention to help people cope with acute painful stimuli.

Journal

Scandinavian Journal of Painde Gruyter

Published: Dec 29, 2017

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches

$49/month

Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.

$588

$360/year

billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial