Speed Reading — Swearing - Level 6 — 500 wpm

Now do this put-the-text-back-together activity.

This is the text (if you need help).

Researchers have discovered that swearing and using bad or profane language can increase one's physical strength. The researchers are from Keele University in England. They conducted tests on 81 people to see the effect swearing had on their physical performance. In one test, participants did a short, intense workout on an exercise bike. Some people were asked to swear as much as they could before they started their workout, while others were told to be quiet. In another test, participants were told to grip the bike's handlebars as tightly as they could. The researchers found that the groups who swore a lot, cycled or gripped three to four per cent more powerfully than the tight-lipped group.

Past research also shows that swearing helps to increase our tolerance to pain. A 2009 study discovered that swearing led to an increased heart rate and higher levels of adrenaline - these help to numb pain. This perhaps explains why so many of us swear when we hurt ourselves. Another study found that swearing was a sign of honesty because people who swear frequently are believed to be better at self-expression. Dr. Richard Stephens, lead researcher of the Keele study, said he was at a loss to explain why swearing affects the body. He said: "Quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered. We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully."

Comprehension questions
  1. What kind of language can increase one's physical strength?
  2. How many people did researchers conduct tests on?
  3. What kind of exercise equipment did the participants use?
  4. When could participants swear as much as they could?
  5. By how much did swearing improve physical performance?
  6. When was there a study into swearing and pain tolerance?
  7. What does adrenaline help to numb?
  8. What do many of us do when we hurt ourselves?
  9. What did another study say swearing was a sign of?
  10. What did a researcher say we do not fully understand yet?

Back to the swearing lesson.

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