Why Being Easily Embarrassed Isn't Something to Be Ashamed of

Taken from here.

New research from the University of California, Berkeley found that people who are easily embarrassed are more trustworthy, generous


If you think the tendency to become embarrassed is a drawback, think again.
A new study finds that people who are easily embarrassed also tend to
be more trustworthy and generous with their resources. What's more,
other people pick up on embarrassment as a social cue, leading them to rate those who blush as more trustworthy than their more unmoved peers.

In the new study, the authors used several tests to assess the
personality traits with which embarrassment might be connected, and to
determine whether embarrassment is a reliable social cue. In one
experiment, they had participants recount embarrassing tales from their
past (think public flatulence or mistaking an overweight woman for a
pregnant one).

The researchers analyzed the participants' behavior while they told the stories and scored them on their embarrassment

factor. Then the participants played a game in which they had to give
away some portion of raffle tickets they'd been given. Those who
displayed more signs of embarrassment while recounting their stories in
the first part of the study were more likely to bestow the raffle
tickets onto others.

In another part of the experiment, the researchers hired an actor to

feign either embarrassment or pride when being told he had scored well
on a test. The participants were more likely to display "prosocial'
tendencies -- such as a willingness to cooperate -- towards the actor later when he'd reacted with embarrassment as
opposed to pride. Lead author Matthew Feinberg said of people who tend
to embarrass easily, "you want to affiliate with them more, you feel comfortable trusting them."

The authors point out that there's a difference between embarrassment

and shame, which has been linked in the past to not-so-positive traits,
like "moral transgressions," including cheating. Interestingly, in the
current study, the authors also report that a greater proclivity for
embarrassment was linked to a greater likelihood of being with one
partner at a time.

"Moderate levels of embarrassment are signs of virtue," confirms

Feinberg. "Our data suggests embarrassment is a good thing, not
something you should fight." So next time someone makes fun of you for
blushing, don't take it as an insult; remember that it means you're more
likely to be trustworthy, generous, and monogamous.

The study was carried out at University of California, Berkeley, and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Image: lenetstan/Shutterstock.

This article originally appeared on TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com.


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