April Fool's joke may leave you red-faced, but it's a good sign, expert says

Mar 28, 2007

Although blushing after an April Fool’s joke might worsen your embarrassment, there is a bright side, says a Duke University professor who is an expert on embarrassment and blushing.

“Everybody blushes to some degree,” said Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. “It’s a sign that you’re attuned to the social norms. Those who don’t blush tend to be indifferent to behaving appropriately.”

Embarrassment arises when you present an image of yourself to others that you didn’t want to present, Leary said. And, even though falling for that April Fool’s trick might make you worry that others will view you badly, in fact, visible signs of embarrassment actually help your social situation, he said.

He said humans’ reaction to being embarrassed is similar to “appeasement behavior” in chimps -– the silly grin, the body language -- that tells others that the individual recognizes his or her transgression and asks for forgiveness.

“Other people like you better if you appear embarrassed,” Leary said.

Source: Duke University

Explore further: Child bullies most often pick on others for 'being fat'

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Best friends may help poor kids succeed

Jul 06, 2015

(HealthDay)—Children who grow up in poor neighborhoods face more obstacles in life, but new research suggests that having a best friend can help these kids succeed.

Emotion knowledge fosters attentiveness

Jul 06, 2015

Young children, who possess a good understanding of their own emotions and of those of their fellow human beings early on, suffer fewer attention problems than their peers with a lower emotional understanding. Evidence of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.