Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why Do We Blush

I have blushed easily all my life. I simply accepted it as unavoidable that whenever I spoke in class, arrived somewhere late or was singled out for praise or correction that my face would redden significantly. As a young child I simply assumed that everyone blushed as much as I did, and that it was only my unusually pale skin that made my tendency towards blushing more apparent. But this is not, in fact, the case. Some people blush more than others do and some families blush more than others do . Some attribute blushing to social phobia, though it differs in that it is not accompanied by a change in pulse rate or blood pressure . Blushing is generally thought to be a response to embarrassment, but is the emotion that triggers blushing as broad and general as "embarrassed"? Or are there more nuances to the emotional cause of what Darwin termed "the most peculiar and most human of all expressions" ?

While the exact causes of blushing vary widely from individual to individual, I feel that my own personal experiences with blushing are very much in keeping with the sources three situations conducive to blushing that were discussed above. If blushing is indeed an appeasement behavior, it explains much of why, despite it's apparent lack of use, that it plays a role in our culture. It is an interesting link between one's physical self and one's mental self. What one finds embarrassing or worth apologizing for can be seen in an involuntary physical response.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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