ERIC Number: ED334532
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Blushing as an Appeasement Gesture: Felt, Displayed, and Observed Embarrassment.
Miller, Rowland S.; Fahey, Denny E.
This study investigated central assumptions of an appeasement model of blushing that holds that blushing is a reliable communication of apology for social transgressions. Male and female college student subjects (N=160) were assigned to actor or observer roles; the actors then performed a series of either embarrassing or innocuous tasks under public or "private" conditions. Actors' heart rates and cheek and finger temperatures were continuously monitored throughout, and all subjects' chronic embarrassability was assessed. Actors reported more embarrassment and blushing in public than in private conditions, and were more embarrassed when they had performed the embarrassing, rather than the innocuous tasks. Embarrassment was found to be recognizable and engendered kindly reactions from observers. In general, subjects experienced greater increases in pulse rate and greater decreases in finger temperature when they performed the tasks in public conditions than in private. As expected, actors performing the embarrassing tasks were perceived to be more embarrassed and abashed and to blush more than those who engaged in more innocuous activity. The data are consistent with several assumptions of the appeasement model. The observers' judgments fit the actors' perceptions of their emotional displays fairly well. Further, public embarrassment received favorable, non-rejecting reactions from the observer. (LLL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Blushing; Embarrassment
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (99th, San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 1991).