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Blushing teens - blame it on the brain

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#1    Belle.



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Posted 06 October 2008 - 12:19 AM

When mums and dads hit the dance floor to strut their stuff, it's guaranteed to send their teenage offspring diving under tables cringing and blushing.

Scientists now believe they know why.

Research by University College London suggests adolescents process the emotions of embarrassment and guilt differently to adults, The Times has reported.

Brain scan studies identified clear differences in brain activity when teenagers and adults were asked to think about social emotions.

While teenagers and adults use the same parts of the brain when processing emotions such as disgust and fear, which do not involve the opinions of other people, the scans showed marked differences when thinking about embarrassment or guilt.

Adolescents engage part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex while adults do not, the study, led by Stephanie Burnett and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, found.

"If teenagers have more activity in this part of the brain when they are thinking about being embarrassed, it might explain why they are more susceptible to embarrassment," Dr Blakemore told the newspaper.

It is uncertain whether the brain activity was a cause or an effect of heightened sensitivity to embarrassment.

Dr Blakemore said the findings, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, could have implications for medical conditions such as anorexia and bulimia, which are linked to self-image.

The study recruited 19 girls aged between 10 and 19 and 10 women, aged between 22 and 32

Subjects had their brains scanned, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), while they were asked to imagine a range of emotional experiences.

Examples designed to evoke embarrassment included thinking about your father dancing in the supermarket, and dribbling food down your top while eating with a friend.

Other thoughts were designed to invoke guilt, disgust and fear as controls.



Edited by Belle., 06 October 2008 - 12:19 AM.

#2    SV-001


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Posted 13 October 2008 - 12:30 AM

embarrasment comes from 'caring what people think and say about you'.
so if you were able to not care you wouldnt blush.
thats how i see it.

#3    Corvis


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Posted 13 October 2008 - 12:58 AM

My parents never mortified me as a teen.  I just convinced people that I wasn't related to them..

#4    BlindMessiah



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Posted 17 October 2008 - 09:54 AM

When my parents do something stupid, I always think, they're the ones looking stupid.  tongue.gif

I'm not the most self-conscious person though. Only times I ever feel embarrassed is when I get shown up(yes, it happens), and that is more of a pride issue than embarrassment.

#5    Belle.



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Posted 17 October 2008 - 10:20 AM

Ha ha I just posted this because my mother showed me and said "Do you remember when you were twelve and if your father and I were ever on public transport with you we had to pretend we didn't know you"?

And then I thought after reading it, damn all that pretending to be wise and "Ooooh my parents are just people, nothing to be embarrassed about" and really I just don't have the neural activity anymore to notice they are still hellishly embarrassing tongue.gif

#6    goalienan


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Posted 17 October 2008 - 10:20 AM

I guess everyone gets embarassed in a different way.  Now I'm very *off the wall*, and if I say or do something in front of the teenage grandchildren, they just shake their heads and walk away. laugh.gif If their parents do it, the kids will tell them to stop.  Actually I've never seen anyone in my family blush from being embarassed, must be in the genes.. wink2.gif

#7    eight bits

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 06:18 PM

Here's a short related article that may also be of interest:


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