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Embarrassment Means You're Prosocial

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Robert Heiny, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    Does being embarrassed mean you are prosocial? Matthew Feinberg and colleagues argue that "observers recognize the expression of embarrassment as a signal of prosociality and commitment to social relationships."

    After a series of five (5) studies, these researchers suggest (1) that people who were embarrassed behaved more generously than their less embarrassable counterparts; (2) that observers rated embarrassed targets as being more prosocial and less antisocial relative to targets who displayed either a different emotion or no emotion; and (3) that observers were more willing to give resources and express a desire to affiliate with people who were embarrassed.


    I wonder how these findings translate into more benefits for the person embarrassed than costs to that person? For example, is a person who shows embarrassment more likely to become a victim of some joke or a crime? Experience tells me that embarrassment indicates a weakness, a vulnerability to at least some aggressive behavior pattern against that person. Yes?
     
  2. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    No. It is the reaction to the aggressive behavior which determines the continuation.

    Let me use the story of two teachers as an example. The students are the same but the teachers are different (and fictitious). Both teachers show embarrassment to a point and both are vulnerable. The students test both. The genuine individual, though, never becomes the victim after the initial test. Their embarrassment is seen as an honesty and the students latch onto it. In contrast, teacher number 2 is embarrassed but reacts. This teacher cannot be trusted and the taunting continues.
     
  3. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    Ah, interesting idea. How would you measure the cost-benefit for these two teachers?
     

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