Archive for May 23rd, 2023

May 23, 2023

Vicarious Embarrassment

Prison Mike

Vicarious embarrassment (also known as secondhand, empathetic, or third-party embarrassment and also as ‘Spanish shame’ or Fremdsch√§men in German) is the feeling of embarrassment from observing the embarrassing actions of another person.

Unlike general embarrassment, vicarious embarrassment is not caused by participating in an embarrassing event, but instead by witnessing (verbally and/or visually) another person experience an embarrassing event. These emotions can be perceived as pro-social, and some say they can be seen as motives for following socially and culturally acceptable behavior. Vicarious embarrassment is often seen as an opposite to schadenfreude, which is the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction at misfortune, humiliation or embarrassment of another person.

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