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Blushing Could Save Face
February 2011
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Turning Red May Not Be a Bad Thing

blusingMost people try to hide their blushes when they’re embarrassed, but new research published in the journal suggests that facial expressions can serve an important role in smoothing social interactions.

Researchers from the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, had participants read vignettes about typical social transgressions and mishaps, and then rate how favorably they felt about the faces of the ostensible social culprits. Blushing people were judged more favorably than non-blushers, regardless of the other emotional cues on their face.

The researchers argue that blushing signals a sincere acknowledgement of wrongdoing and communicates to others that we won’t make the same mistake again. They concluded that blushing might prevent people from being socially excluded after committing some kind of transgression. It could actually help us, yes, save face.


Source: GreaterGood.Berkeley.edu