Embarrassment by Rowland S. Miller

Embarrassment by Rowland S. Miller

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Embarrassment by Rowland S. Miller

In the book Embarrassment, Rowland S. Miller deals with all aspects of embarrassment in everyday life. Miller talks about the nature of embarrassment to the ways of over coming embarrassment. He also talks about how embarrassment is a basic emotion and the certain signs of having the emotion. He also talks about the certain types of responses given in a situation. I will talk about the nature of embarrassment, characteristics of embarrassment and the prototypical embarrassment discussed in chapter one.
The chapter I have selected talks about the book as a study of a uniquely human emotion, not the familiar emotion embarrassment, but by different events that follow the emotion. These emotions can be anywhere from being dramatic to being funny to being careless to being even sad. These emotions can follow anything that’s ordinary or everyday behavior. Most people don’t even experience this as children until they mature and gain Socialization skills and cognitive skills of a young adolescence.
One of the other emotions that follows embarrassment is not to the person being embarrassed, but the embarrasser. Say you are the embarrasser and you embarrass someone; friend, colleague, or even a total stranger, and you do it in a way you know the other person is embarrassed (ex. Embarrasser spilling a drink on the embarrassed) and the embarrasser keeping their cool, don't show any emotion but still being apologetic and offering to reimburse for the damage done, then leaves. Will you even like or be able to trust that person? A person that shows more sorrow or regret for what he or she has done by showing reparation and showing embarrassment however, will more likely be able to be trusted.
Now we can look at characteristics of embarrassment by using our imagination. Lets say on a nice day, a jogger is running through the park and notices a person of the opposite sex, doing their usual daily exercise routine and all of a sudden, BAM, the jogger ran into a pole. Instead of sitting on the ground and getting rid of the dizziness and checking to see if the spot on his forehead that he hit on the pole had swelled up any, he runs on. Because he got himself in this embarrassing situation, others around him probably laughed and made fun of him and might have caused him to laugh at the situation at a later time, was not funny at the moment.

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It was a situation caused by embarrassment, that he would have not usually been in. This is a good characterization of embarrassment.
Another example of embarrassment is demonstrated by Bert Brown. He asked collage students to perform the task of sucking biting and licking on a babies pacifier in private. These student were fine until they were asked to disclose this information publicly and the students then felt the fear of being embarrassed. With the three choices given, public exposure and meet the audience face to face, or audio or video tape and not meet the audience or a written report, More chose the written report even though money was given to the people who publicly exposed themselves. This resulted to brown that people strive to avoid embarrassment even when they must make sacrifices to do so.
Prototypical embarrassment is embarrassment that is tried to get around. If you do something that embarrasses someone and they try to explain or make fun of the situation, that is prototypical. "Subjects conceived as typical embarrassment as resulting from real failure or wrong doing on the part of the embarrassed person, whereas those remembering actual embarrassments were more likely to think of themselves as the victims of adverse events."(pg.8)
I thought that the chapter in this book I read was good and I would recommend the whole book to people who feel shy and would like to know more about embarrassment. I also feel it’s a good research book for medical personnel or person on a college level. Now that I have read this chapter I feel like reading the whole book would not only be interesting but beneficial.
In conclusion, I feel that embarrassment is a normal activity in our daily lives and it's the way we act out the emotion that makes us feel the way we do. An embarrassing routine happens in your mundane, misfortunes. Also without embarrassment you would seem to harsh and uncaring because nothing bothers you to much to make you care about what people say about you and the outcome of a situation whether its good or bad. Should we really have any reason to fear embarrassment?



Miller S. Rowland. Embarrassment. New York, NY: The Guilford Press, 1996
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