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The experience and symptoms of blushing as a function of age and reported frequency of blushing

Abstract

Sixty-five self-identified frequent and infrequent blushers in four age groups (ages 13 to 55) were interviewed regarding their typical experience of blushing, physiological correlates of blushing, age-related changes in blushing, and the social context of blushing. Both groups experienced blushing as varying in intensity, duration, latency, and the extent to which it is accompanied by other physical symptoms. Reported frequency of blushing was negatively correlated with age (r=−.49,p<.0001). While 64% of the subjects age 25 and younger reported blushing more than once a week (and 36% blush daily), only 28% of those over 25 reported blushing more than once a week.

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Additional information

We would like to thank Indra Thadani and Susan Cogan for assisting with the interviews and Gina Leveroni, Nancy Berger, and Maria Cruz for their assistance in coding interviews. This research was supported by an NSF Visiting Professorship in Science and Engineering award to the first author. The special assistance of Alan Goldfien, M.D., is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks also go to reviewers for their helpful comments. Preliminary results were presented at the meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotions, Clark University, July 1987.

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Shields, S.A., Mallory, M.E. & Simon, A. The experience and symptoms of blushing as a function of age and reported frequency of blushing. J Nonverbal Behav 14, 171–187 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00996225

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00996225

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Context
  • Physical Symptom
  • Typical Experience
  • Physiological Correlate