Cute or Shameful: Why Humans Blush

Leary has also studied what onlookers do while the blushing person stares at the ground beet red. For the most part, people begin to blush when they are watched and, accordingly, Leary found that adults onlookers (not children) naturally tend to accommodate the person who's blushing.

"People have difficulty staring at or paying attention to another person who's blushing. This is a natural response," said Leary. "You have to be un-empathetic to continue to stare at somebody who's falling apart and blushing."

Professor Rowland Miller, who researches embarrassment at Sam Houston State University, in Huntsville, Texas, agreed that in most situations, a blush can be to a person's social advantage.

"Embarrassment is really tough in elementary school, but that's not true among adults," said Miller. "When you do something stupid and you look embarrassed other adults will like you better than if you've looked cool, and calm."

However when people blush without a visible taboo, such as in meetings or business dealings, Miller said it can sometimes be detrimental to the "blusher."

"Let's say you blush in the absence of some predicament, that might indicate guilty knowledge and people wonder why you are blushing," said Miller.

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