The next time you blush after tripping over your own feet in public, don’t try to hide it — a new study finds that showing your embarrassment actually makes other people view you as more trustworthy.
“Embarrassment is one emotional signature of a person to whom you can entrust valuable resources,” study researcher Robb Willer, a social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement. “It’s part of the social glue that fosters trust and cooperation in everyday life.”
Researchers from UC Berkeley conducted a series of experiments that used video testimonials, trust games and surveys to gauge the relationship between embarrassment and “pro-sociality,” or positive behavior toward others.
In one experiment, researchers videotaped 60 college students recounting embarrassing moments such as passing gas in public or making incorrect assumptions based on appearances, such as mistaking an overweight woman for being pregnant or assuming that a disheveled person is a panhandler.
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