Embarrassment is an unpleasant and disruptive experience, its study being of both theoretical and practical importance. This may not only highlight some of the important preconditions for normal social interaction, but may also suggest methods of coping with or resolving embarrassment. Embarrassment has proved difficult to define and its causes difficult to delineate, and the term is often used synonymously with shame. This paper presents a definition of embarrassment, delineates the causes and reviews the research on the topic. A model of embarrassment is presented, based in part on recent research on nonverbal aspects of embarrassment, partly on Goffman’s theorizing and partly on attribution theory, which integrates much of the research on embarrassment.
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Edelmann, R.J. Embarrassment: The state of research. Current Psychological Reviews 1, 125–137 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02979260
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