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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores and summarizes the current knowledge about the neurophysiological substrata of the utterance of expletives—its brain regions, pathways, and neurotransmitters, and its interaction with hormones. The chapter presents clinical data that have been gathered directly from patients of aphasia, Tourette syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain injuries—all are disorders often accompanied with expletives. It also discusses the possible relations between swearing and aggression, swearing and pain, and swearing and social inhibition in the population at large. Finally, the chapter examines the clinical data and the data gathered from the population at large within one frame, and proposes two hypotheses that can serve as possible directions for future research about the biological substrata of swearing. No previous knowledge of the brain is assumed.

Keywords: swearing, Tourette syndrome, aphasia, Alzheimer’s disease, pain, aggression, social inhibition

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