Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

People Who Swear Are More Honest

Seriously, Science?By Seriously ScienceJanuary 4, 2018 7:01 PM
Swearing-at-work-1

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

It's hard to tell which came first with this study - the title or the study itself. Either way, these authors set out determine whether the use of profanity is associated with honesty or dishonesty. Using a series of three studies, including a linguistic analysis of more than 70,000 interactions on Facebook, they conclude that "profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level and with higher integrity at the society level." But wait! Another group of researchers later responded to this paper, questioning its conclusions and suggesting that "Lie Scales are correlated positively rather than negatively with trait honesty and the relation between profanity use and trait honesty is likely to be negative." Well, damn!

Frankly, We Do Give a Damn: The Relationship Between Profanity and Honesty

"There are two conflicting perspectives regarding the relationship between profanity and dishonesty. These two forms of norm-violating behavior share common causes and are often considered to be positively related. On the other hand, however, profanity is often used to express one’s genuine feelings and could therefore be negatively related to dishonesty. In three studies, we explored the relationship between profanity and honesty. We examined profanity and honesty first with profanity behavior and lying on a scale in the lab (Study 1; N = 276), then with a linguistic analysis of real-life social interactions on Facebook (Study 2; N = 73,789), and finally with profanity and integrity indexes for the aggregate level of U.S. states (Study 3; N = 50 states). We found a consistent positive relationship between profanity and honesty; profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level and with higher integrity at the society level."

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In