ERIC Number: ED236513
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Reactions to the Threat of Embarrassment.
Miller, Rowland S.; Miller, Gale A.
Embarrassment is an aversive state which occurs when the public image a person is trying to maintain during an interaction is abruptly discredited. When people are embarrassed, they try to salvage the situation by offering positive information about themselves to restore their endangered identities. To examine responses to the threat of impending embarrassment, undergraduate students (N=40) randomly selected a list of either embarrassing or unembarrassing tasks, which they were to perform in front of a confederate observer. Before performing the tasks the students completed two questionnaires, one in which they described themselves to the observer by ratings on personality adjectives, and one which contained manipulation checks. Analyses of results and self-reports showed that students expected to feel embarrassed when performing the embarrassing tasks. The personality descriptions of themselves which they wrote in anticipation of being embarrassed contained unfavorable items (e.g., grouchy, unapproachable, defensive, selfish) rather than positive items. They presented a negative identity in anticipation of being unable to maintain a positive one. (WAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association (29th, San Antonio, TX, April 21-23, 1983). Best copy available.