ERIC Number: ED226271
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Embarrassment: Situational Social Anxiety.
Miller, Rowland S.
Embarrassment occurs when the social identity or "face" that one is trying to maintain is abruptly discredited. Thus, embarrassment usually assumes the presence of an audience, real or imagined, and a public predicament which changes the situation. Most people try to avoid embarrassment if they can, and if they have been embarrassed they will go to great lengths to restore their endangered identities, or "face." Embarrassment not only affects the embarrassed person or actor but also the audience that witnesses the loss of face. It is possible for the audience to become so involved with another's embarrassment as to even suggest the notion of "empathic embarrassment." There is still much to learn about this topic. Future investigations could profitably focus on two areas: investigating the role of both actor and audience in creating and managing embarrassment; and examining embarrassment in its relation to other social anxieties. For example, research has shown that people who believed they were about to be embarrassed became distressed; they became shy and presented in advance a less positive identity, indicating embarrassment blended into shyness. There is, then, one common denominator in research of this nature: the management of social identity. Whether the emphasis is on the actor or the situations which produce difficulties our focus is on managing smooth social interaction. (JAC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (90th, Washington, DC, August 23-27, 1982).