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Swearing Is Good For You

Written by Dr. Emma Byrne

  • 288 Pages
  • 9781487001780
  • 8.5" x 5.5"
  • PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology



Publication Date November 25, 2017

Did you know that chimpanzees can swear? Or that we do most of our swearing in our first language? Have you ever noticed that swearing is an excellent painkiller?

In delightfully fun and accessible language, backed by riveting historical case studies and the latest cutting-edge research, Dr. Emma Byrne explores the science behind swearing and why bad language might actually be good for us. Swearing, it turns out, is socially and emotionally essential. Not only has some form of swearing been around since the earliest humans began to communicate, but it has been shown to reduce physical pain, prevent violence, help stroke victims recover their language, and help people work together as a team. Swearing Is Good For You is a fascinating and fun look at the new science of bad language.


Dr. Emma Byrne

Dr. Emma Byrne is a research scientist at Queen Mary, University of London. She has a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and an MRes in Visualization, Imaging, and Virtual Environments. Her research has been published in Science and The BMJ, and has been covered by the BBC, the Daily Mail, and the Scottish Daily Record. She has also written popular science articles for Forbes and the Financial Times. Dr. Byrne appears regularly on Sky News and the BBC as an expert on swearing and artificial intelligence. Swearing Is Good For You is her first book.


"A good book about bad language by a trash-talking woman? Sign me up! Swearing Is Good for You makes science feel downright celebratory." Mary Norris, bestselling author of Between You & Me

"A really interesting read." Brief Take

"[Swearing] deserves a closer, clinical look. And Emma Byrne, a scientist and a journalist who has done research in the field, is well qualified to be our guide." The Toronto Star

"Lively . . . In exploring the universe of swearing, [Byrne] has lined up some nifty stories." The Vancouver Sun

"Written in an engaging and conversational style . . . Byrne provides a refreshing, entertaining, instructive examination of a ‘surprisingly flexible part of a linguistic repertoire.’" Kirkus