The Influence of Self-Focused Attention on Blushing during Social Interaction

By Kim, Kiho; Cho, Sungkun et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, June 2012 | Go to article overview

The Influence of Self-Focused Attention on Blushing during Social Interaction


Kim, Kiho, Cho, Sungkun, Lee, Jang-Han, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Although blushing is a common emotional response (Darwin, 1872/1989), most people consider blushing undesirable and often try to stop or conceal it. Some individuals experience high levels of distress about blushing, possibly leading to blushing phobia (erythrophobia) or social phobia (Bogels, Mulkens, & de Jong, 1997; Scholing & Emmelkamp, 1993). In an attempt to facilitate the understanding of the fear of blushing, Dijk, Voncken, and de Jong (2009) proposed a cognitive model of fear of blushing. According to this model, the trigger stimulus is the belief--which can be true or false--that one is blushing. The fear of blushing is assumed to elicit negative and dysfunctional beliefs regarding the expense of blushing. For example, individuals with a fear of blushing may anticipate being rejected by others who notice their bodily reactions (Bogels, 2006). Such anticipation causes fear and this fear of blushing leads to an increased state of self-focused attention (SFA). Finally, this increased state of SFA leads to a quicker and more sensitive detection of small temperature increases, thus leading to an increased, or even exaggerated, sensation of blushing (Mulkens, de Jong, Dobbelaar, & Bogels, 1999)

One critical assumption in the model is that a heightened state of SFA plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of the fear of blushing. However, to date research on the effect of SFA on the fear of bodily reactions has yielded conflicting results. While in some studies results have shown that heightened SFA leads to anxiety (e.g., Bogels & Lamers, 2002; Woody, 1996), in other studies no anxiety-provoking effects caused by increased SFA have been observed (Bogels & Mansell, 2004; Bogels, Rijsemus, & de Jong, 2002). In addition, although there are already studies in which the authors suggested that the trait of SFA increases awareness of physiological reactions (Fenigstein & Carver, 1978; Wegner & Giuliano, 1980), it is still unclear whether or not focusing attention on oneself increases physiological arousal.

Therefore, in this study we investigated the relationship between the trait of SFA and sensitivity to blushing. In order to also examine the effect of SFA on actual physiological blushing, we used infrared thermography to measure real-time changes in facial skin temperature of individuals before, during, and after blushing episodes during social encounters that might be expected to be blush-inducing. Consequently, we hypothesized:

Hypothesis 1: Participants with high SFA will experience blushing more intensely and more frequently than will those with low SFA in situations that might be expected to be blush-inducing.

Hypothesis 2: Facial skin temperature as an indicator of blushing will be higher in participants with high SFA than in those with low SFA, before, during, and after being exposed to a situation that might be expected to be blush-inducing.

Method

Participants and Self-report Measures

Prior to the experiment, 416 undergraduate students from Chung-Ang University completed the General SFA subscale of the Scale for Dispositional Self-focused Attention in Social Situations (Lee & Kwon, 2005). From this sample, we selected 56 participants with the most extreme scores in the distribution (i.e., the top 20% and the bottom 20%) to take part in the study. The group that comprised the top 20% was classified as high trait SFA and the bottom 20% group was classified as having low SFA. The high SFA group consisted of 12 men and 17 women, with a mean age of 21.51 (SD = 1.86) years, and the low SFA group consisted of 11 men and 16 women, with a mean age of 21.56 (SD = 3.04) years. In order to provide a more comprehensive description of the sample, participants also completed the Blushing Propensity Scale, which measures the degree to which people expect to blush in social situations (Leary & Meadows, 1991), and the blushing subscale of the Blushing, Trembling, and Sweating Questionnaire (Bogels & Reith, 1999), which measures the extent to which individuals consider blushing as a difficulty and how afraid they are of blushing.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Influence of Self-Focused Attention on Blushing during Social Interaction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.