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American Amnesia

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By J.R. Moehringer

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A Question of Trust

Posted on Sep 29, 2011
Flickr / Sarebear:) (CC-BY)

A recent study from the University of California, Berkeley, reports that people who are more easily embarrassed may also be more trustworthy.

The authors of the study said that embarrassment, not to be confused with shame, is “the emotional signature of a person to whom you can entrust valuable resources.”

But the sample size—60 college students—was small, and the report seems to prompt more questions than answers. For instance, is embarrassment an indicator that a person is more worthy of trust, or that a person is more likely to be trusted? And is someone who easily turns red someone you really want to trust with your secrets? —BF

Medical Xpress:

Researchers point out that the moderate type of embarrassment they examined should not be confused with debilitating social anxiety or with “shame,” which is associated in the psychology literature with such moral transgressions as being caught cheating.

While the most typical gesture of embarrassment is a downward gaze to one side while partially covering the face and either smirking or grimacing, a person who feels shame, as distinguished from embarrassment, will typically cover the whole face, Feinberg said.

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, September 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Well, that’s not true.  My son is embarrassed by everything, yet he is exceptional at construing the world in any manner, to anyone, and leading them to any viewpoint that he sits fit.  It’s quite a talent and he spends half his life in a state of embarrassment.

Embarrassment does not equal timidity and fear which translates into playing it safe and predictable.

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