Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms of Service

Tips to Help with Embarrassment and Embarrassing Situations

  • Published: 2018-03-27 (Revised/Updated 2018-03-28) : Press Release by Springer : Contact: springer.com
  • Synopsis: By training your mind to be an observer rather than actively participating in an embarrassing situation it is possible to overcome humiliating or distressing feelings.

Main Document

"In each study, the researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that adopting an observer's perspective can reduce feelings of embarrassment."

Study shows that putting yourself in the position of an observer could be key to overcoming feelings of embarrassment...

Feelings of embarrassment can be overcome through mental training. This is the finding of a study published in Springer's journal Motivation and Emotion.

By training your mind to be an observer rather than actively participating in the embarrassing situation it is possible to overcome humiliating or distressing feelings, says Li Jiang of Carnegie Mellon University in the US who led the study.

Some people have such an intense fear of embarrassment that they go to great lengths to sidestep seemingly everyday situations. This could include not asking a shop assistant a question about a new product, for fear of sounding stupid, or not taking an embarrassing yet potentially life-saving medical test.

 	Embarrassed woman hiding face in embarrassment. Blurred images of buildings can be seen in the background.
About This Image: Embarrassed woman hiding face in embarrassment. Blurred images of buildings can be seen in the background.
"Embarrassment prevents us from asking advice about what we should do, for example, about our mounting mortgage bills or unplanned pregnancies. In many cases, if we are to help ourselves, and others, we must overcome our fear of embarrassment in social situations," explains Jiang.

Jiang and her colleagues conducted three sets of studies, each involving different groups of students from a large university in the US.

In each study, the researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that adopting an observer's perspective can reduce feelings of embarrassment.

One of the findings was that people who are extremely self-conscious in public are more likely to take an actor's perspective in an embarrassing situation, even if this concerns others. Self-conscious people will even feel distressed when watching an advertisement with an embarrassment appeal. However, levels of self-consciousness drop in these people when they are able to picture themselves as observers of a situation, and not as being directly involved in it.

"Our research shows that devising strategies to successfully reduce embarrassment avoidance is complicated. This is because consumers will react differently to persuasion tactics depending on their level of public self-consciousness and their amount of available cognitive resources," adds Jiang.

She believes the results have significant implications for marketers who often use potentially embarrassing situations in their advertisements to entice consumers to buy their products.

"Embarrassment-avoidance forms the basis for attempts to motivate consumers to buy a wide variety of products, from laundry detergents that can resolve rings around someone's collar, to dishwasher liquid that can remove unsightly spots on dishes," explains Jiang.

"Our research is relevant to those situations in which marketers want to inoculate consumers against a fear of embarrassment and encourage them to take actions they might otherwise avoid."

Reference: Jiang, L., Drolet, A. & Scott, C. (2018). Countering Embarrassment-Avoidance by Taking an Observer's Perspective, Motivation and Emotion DOI: 10.1007/s11031-018-9673-7

Similar Topics

1 : Paralyzed Patient Feels Sensation Again by Stimulating Brain : California Institute of Technology.
2 : Slow Steady Rhythmic Brain Waves Linked to Consciousness : Washington University School of Medicine.
3 : What Happens in the Brain During Unconsciousness : Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan.
4 : Tips to Help with Embarrassment and Embarrassing Situations : Springer.
5 : Dissecting Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Understand the Human Brain Better : Cognitive Neuroscience Society.
From our The Human Brain section - Full List (68 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Bias Keeps Women with Higher Body Weight Away From the Doctor
2 : Smart Hoteliers are Building a Healthier Future
3 : Teaching Baby Sign Language - Nita, Show Us More
4 : MitoQ Novel Antioxidant Makes Old Arteries Seem Young Again
5 : Telemedicine Helps Overcome Healthcare Gender Based Barriers
6 : Screen Reader Plus Keyboard Helps Blind, Low-Vision Users Browse Modern Webpages
7 : Our Digital Remains Should be Treated with Same Care and Respect as Physical Remains
8 : Tungsten: Concern Over Possible Health Risk by Human Exposure to Tungsten


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™