“To see whether swearing can help change attitudes, Scherer and Sagarin (2006) divided 88 participants into three groups to watch one of three slightly different speeches. The only difference between the speeches was that one contained a mild swear word at the start:
“…lowering of tuition is not only a great idea, but damn it, also the most reasonable one for all parties involved.”
The second speech contained the ‘damn it’ at the end and the third had neither.
When participants’ attitudes were measured, they were most influenced by the speeches with the mild obscenity included, either at the beginning or the end.
It also emerged that the word ‘damn’ increased the audience’s perception of the speaker’s intensity, which was what lead to the increased levels of persuasion. On the other hand, swearing did not affect how the audience perceived the speaker’s credibility.
So it seems that light swearing can be useful, even in a relatively formal situation like a lecture. When you show some feeling, the audience notices, credits you with sincerity and takes your message to heart.”
Needless to say, I’m already there and I’m way beyond “damn it!”