The Motivated Expression of Embarrassment Following a Self-Presentational Predicament
ABSTRACT Two experiments tested hypotheses derived from an interpersonal model of embarrassment. According to this model, people who have suffered a self-presentational predicament are motivated to convey to others that they feel embarrassed as a way of repairing their social image and lowering subjective embarrassment in such situations. In Experiment 1, participants who performed an embarrassing task subsequently expressed greater embarrassment if the researcher did not already know that they were embarrassed than if she was aware of their embarrassment. Experiment 2 showed that embarrassed participants who thought that the researcher did not interpret their blushing as a sign of embarrassment subsequently engaged in alternative self-presentational tactics to improve their damaged social image.