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Hard-wired Swearing

from How Stuff Works

Swearing and the Brain

Your brain is a very complex organ, but there are only a few things you need to know about it to understand how it approaches swear words differently from other language:

— In most people, the left hemisphere is in charge of language. The right hemisphere creates the emotional content of language.

— Language processing is a “higher” brain function and takes place in the cerebral cortex.

— Emotion and instinct are “lower” brain functions and take place deep inside the brain.

Many studies suggest that the brain processes swearing in the lower regions, along with emotion and instinct. Scientists theorize that instead of processing a swearword as a series of phonemes, or units of sound that must be combined to form a word, the brain stores swear words as whole units [ref]. So, the brain doesn’t need the left hemisphere’s help to process them. Swearing specifically involves:

[ click to continue reading at HowStuffWorks.com ]

Posted on February 6, 2012 by Editor

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