The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts psychology professor tested 200 college students aged 18 to 22. Students took a verbal fluency test to produce spontaneous words belonging to the same word groups. Written and oral tests measured the general fluency, curse word and animal-word fluency (words like bird, tiger, and dog) of respondents.
The aim of the study was to see whether people who curse have a smaller vocabulary compared to those who do not use expostulations. Dr. Jay pointed to earlier research that he believed wrongly asserted that those who swear display poor socio-intellectual abilities.
"It's part of your emotional intelligence to know how and when to use these words. If you're thinking about it from a moral perspective, you're missing how common and normal it is. Everybody knows this language," Jay said.
In a separate study, Dr. Jay revealed documents claiming that students who curse have a higher verbal acumen.
According to the professor's study, the use of curse words positively correlated with other measures of verbal fluency, questioning the common myth about swearing.
"The research has gotten a lot of attention because it confronts the prejudice against offensive language that's been around for 300 years. Kids swear, it's normal for people to know how to swear," Jay stated.