The Science of Swearing
Benjamin Bergen, UCSD Cognitive Science: Swearing
Nearly everyone swears—in pain, inebriation, anger, or occasionally joy. And yet adults censor themselves in public and even punish children for profanity. Swearing, it seems, is an intimate part of us that we decide to selectively deny. But scientists have begun to look under the hood of profanity and the results are remarkable. UC San Diego cognitive scientist Benjamin Bergen will discuss the surprising science behind swearing. How can stroke patients left otherwise speechless still swear fluently? Why do words like “zounds” or more recently “sucks” that were once taboo eventually lose their sting? The cognitive science of profanity opens a new window onto how our brains process language and what gives words have the power they have.
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Sunday Assembly San Diego is a new radically inclusive deity-free community that meets monthly to hear inspirational talks, connect for service projects, sing songs and generally celebrate life. Assemblies are free to attend, and everyone is welcome.
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