Scenario from our pilot project

Mechanisms and Evolutionary Function of Shame and Embarrassment

Scenario from our pilot project

Mechanisms and Evolutionary Function of Shame and Embarrassment

Evidence suggests that shame is a neurocognitive adaptation that helps counter social devaluation. If this is true, then shame should be elicited when someone thinks you’ve done something wrong, even when no actual wrongdoing has occurd. In this project we are evaluating the role of the (mis)informed audience in eliciting shame. We are also using eye tracking to investigate social information gathering processes that are triggered when someone is being devalued or shamed. We are also interested in embarrassment and how this differs from shame. One question we are currently working on is understanding the behavioral cues of embarrassment. The next steps for this project involve analyzing the possible mediatinoal role of testosterone and cortisol in shame behavior and the personality correlates of proneness to embarrassment.





Poster presented at HBES 2019

You can click the poster to download it from OSF

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Coltan Scrivner
PhD Candidate

I investigate the evolution of social cognition and morbid curiosity