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Emotion. 2011 Apr;11(2):313-9. doi: 10.1037/a0022774.

Saved by the blush: being trusted despite defecting.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. k.f.l.dijk@uva.nl


This study examined whether blushing after a sociomoral transgression remediates trustworthiness in an interdependent context. Participants (N = 196) played a computerized prisoner's dilemma game with a virtual opponent who defected in the second round of the game. After the defection, a photograph of the opponent was shown, displaying a blushing or a nonblushing face. In a subsequent Trust Task, the blushing opponent was entrusted with more money than the nonblushing opponent. In further support of the alleged remedial properties of the blush, participants also indicated that they trusted the blushing opponent more, expected a lower probability that she would defect again, and judged the blushing opponent more positively.

PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved.

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