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ERIC Number: ED181348
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: 0
Empathic Embarrassment: Reactions to the Embarrassment of Another.
Miller, Rowland S.
The reactions of observers (N=168 college students) to an actor's embarrassment were examined by manipulating the perceived link between actor and observer (cooperative, competitive, or independent) and the observational set of the observer (empathic or nonempathic). The observers' self-ratings of embarrassment and measures of their skin potential indicated that a cooperative link and an empathic set both increased their responsiveness to the actor's plight. Moreover, independent empathic observers reported reactions which are believed to be empathic embarrassment--embarrassment felt for another even though one's own social identity is not threatened. Embarrassment appears to affect observers of, as well as participants in, embarrassing actions, and is a rather omnibus phenomenon. The momentary threats to an actor's "face" from which embarrassment stems seem to influence both the actor and his/her audience; if the audience members can identify with the actor, they may themselves be embarrassed by the actor's situation. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: Sam Houston State Univ., Huntsville, TX.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (87th, New York, NY, September 1-5, 1979)