A Question of Trust
Posted on Sep 29, 2011
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
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.
Flickr / Sarebear:) (CC-BY)