The Effects of Three Types of Profane Language in Persuasive Messages


  • Robert N. Bostrom,

  • John R. Baseheart,

  • Charles M. Rossiter Jr.


The present investigation was concerned with the effect of using profanity in a communication on receiver attitude change and speaker credibility ratings. Results of the investigation found no support for the superiority of a persuasive communication using profanity of a religious, excretory, or sexual nature over the same communication devoid of such profanity. It was found, however, that if one of the above three types of profanity is included in a communication, greater attitude change can be expected to occur if the communicator is a female using any one of the three profanity-types mentioned than if the communicator is a male using the same types of profanity. Finally, it was found that using profanity in a communication generally has a detrimental effect on the perceived credibility of the communicator.