Why I study....embarrassment

Robert J. Edelmann
AS a keen observer of human behaviour I have always been fascinated by one peculiarly human emotion. An emotion which frequently causes personal distress and yet, paradoxically, often provokes laughter in those who see our discomfiture. Embarrassment is a social disease to which no-one is immune. Most of us can recount a personally embarrassing experience, and recalling it may well result in further embarrassment. Embarrassment is contagious, often spreading from one person to another within a group. Embarrassing moments also have an unpleasant habit of developing rapidly — a small mishap seems inexplicably to lead to a second and a third in a very short period of time.

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