Blushing and Physiological Arousability in Social Phobia Essay

Blushing and Physiological Arousability in Social Phobia Essay

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Blushing and Physiological Arousability in Social Phobia

This paper will provide a critique of the article titled “Blushing and Physiological Arousability in Social Phobia,” (Gerlach et al., 2001) located in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Vol. 110, No. 2). Blushing is defined as: “to become red in the face especially from shame or embarrassment. ” It is believed that blushing involves physiological, behavioral, and cognitive factors which react with one another. The actual cause of one blushing is physiological; the amount of blood in one’s face increases causing the amplification of a red hue in the blush region. The blush region is defined to be the face, forehead, ears, neck, and sometimes the upper part of the chest. The DSM-IV defines social phobia as marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur. Since blushing occurs when one is embarrassed, the researchers hoped to find a link between blushing and the reasons of in social phobic persons.

The researches hypothesized that persons with social phobia who complain of blushing would show more blushing as opposed to those who are social phobic without complaints of blushing or the controls. The researches came to this hypothesis because it is believed that if one is aware of their uncontrollable blushing, they have an increased awareness cognitively towards their blushing problem. In turn, one may exaggerate the amount of blushing they are experiencing which in turn will increase the actual physiological process heightening the blush level. Also, because the relation between heart rate and phobic anxiety exists, it was also hypothesized there would be a difference in heart rate between the subgroups. The researchers believe that heart rate reliably shows the amount of phobic anxiety one is enduring. Therefore, it is believed that the participants who complain of blushing will also have a higher heart rate compared to the other two subgroups.

The study consisted of 44 participants (54% female, 46% male). The mean age of the participants of all three subgroups was 39.9 years of age. The mean years of education among the participants were 16.23 years. The participants all originated within Silicon Valley and the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. All were highly educated and economical...

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...t even though the intended reason for the study did not follow through, the found evidence could be helpful for future studies. Researchers in the future studying this matter would no longer have to test heart rate palpitations; they will now know it does vary on the diagnosis of the person.
I believe the basis of the study was good, but it was carried out in a hurried state. The participants and time spent on testing were both minimal. I think that the subject was unique and would help others studying this factor because it is one that people are curious about. A physiological change by external stimuli in a person is always a topic of concern and curiosity. Surgery has been suggested to those with blushing problems to help lessen the obvious nature of it. As this study and the researchers have suggested, one should be wary of such surgery. They found there is no apparent evidence stating that one with social phobia blushes more than one without. I think this piece of advice in itself shows that this study has had an impact in the scientific world and the human population.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Vol. 110, No. 2. (2001) Page248.

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