Printer Friendly

What makes people blush; mind MATTER OVER.


ALL our emotions involve physical components: hearts racing when we feel fear, pupils dilating when we feel love, muscles tensing when we feel angry and blushing when we feel embarrassed, are common examples.

Blushing - the reddening of the cheeks as adrenaline makes the blood vessels widen - is a puzzling phenomenon.

Why on earth would we develop a physical response that makes us more noticeable, just at the times when we wish the ground would open and swallow us? The conspicuous nature of blushing may provide a clue to its function: it's a communication to those around us.

One theory is that blushing evolved as a way of applying the social rules that encourage humans to behave towards each other in a civil and friendly manner.

Involuntarily blushing is a speedy way of letting people know that you are experiencing shame or embarrassment.

In other words, you know that you have put your foot in it and blushing is a way of saying sorry.

The idea that blushing is a form of nonverbal apology could also mean that it's a survival mechanism that helps to keep us out of trouble.

Say we make a comment that insults another person. This insult could lead to aggression and social rejection.

Blushing quickly communicates to that person that we're sorry and that we're paying the price for our behaviour through our shame.

Showing contrition in this way may make the other person more likely to forgive our indiscretion without punishing us.

Studies have shown that blushing develops alongside our emotional intelligence. Another theory therefore is that blushing communicates to others that we understand how they feel, that we're sensitive to their needs and that we're aware of the impact of our own behaviour.

While blushing tends to occur when we're embarrassed, the range of situations that causes our cheeks to redden varies greatly.

For example, when we make a mistake, when we're attracted to another person, when we are praised or when we come under scrutiny.

While it's likely that blushing has evolved as a social mechanism for communicating to those around us, deciphering the nuances of that communication is open to the interpretation of the beholder.

| Dr Ellie Milby is a counselling


Attraction is one

Blushing can be a nonverbal way of making an apology

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2018 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2018
Previous Article:Everything you need to know about meningitis; Research suggests that one in five young people don't know the deadly consequences of contracting...
Next Article:Ethical kit for you to work out in.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters