Why do we feel vicarious embarrassment? Frieder Paulus explores embarrassment on behalf of others at the University of Lübeck, Germany. He says that the main reason for feeling embarrassed is the violation of rules and conventions. Although the feeling of embarrassment itself is not particularly pleasant, it is generally something positive and constructive for the individual.
Check out the new podcast (only in German):
On June 25th we had a great lab visit at the DECISION NEUROSCIENCE OF HUMAN INTERACTIONS lab in Hamburg!
From June 7th – June 14th several lab members presented their newest data at the Annual Meeting of the Organization of Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) in Rome.
- “Self-attribution shifts affective, neural, and motivational markers of outcome valuation” was presented by David Stolz.
- “Egocentricity and allocentricity modulate neural and emotional processing of embarrassment in the face of others’ mishaps” was presented by Annalina Mayer.
- “Belief updating about the self and others in a social performance context” was presented by Nora Czekalla.
For a long time, Gilles-de-la-Tourette Syndrome (GTS) has been considered a motor disorder characterized by its dominant features of vocal and motor tics. Neuroscientific research on GTS has accordingly focused on dysfunctional motor and motor control brain networks, most prominently the frontostriatal circuitry. Some of the most prominent features of GTS are, however, inherently social by nature, most notably echophenomena, coprolalia or non-obscene socially inappropriate behaviors. Echophenomena refer to automatic imitative behavior and include both echopraxia, repetition of actions; and echolalia, repetition of sounds and language. (further reading)
Topic editors: Ulrike Krämer, Sören Krach, Clare Eddy & Alexander Münchau
Dr. Lena Rademacher received funding by the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation to study the interaction of cortisol, oxytocin and the dopaminergic reward system in alcohol addiction. We are looking forward to start this very ambitious collaboration together with Prof. Dr. Schmid (Department of Internal Medicine I) and Prof. Dr. Junghanns (Department of Psychiatry)!
For anybody who is interested in research on vicarious embarrassment we do recommend to watch this very illustrative and informative Youtube-video. It nicely summarizes the neural mechanisms underlying empathy and how these relate to vicarious emotions such as “Fremdscham”
Great symposium on “Understanding others” hosted by Anat Perry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Amidst the mountains of Piermont in the province of Cuneo we held our second joined Social/Cognitive Neuroscience Retreat.
Together with the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the Department of Neurology (Prof. Ulrike Krämer) we will study a social event coding approach to echophenomena in Tourette.
Frieder Paulus explains how social closeness impacts the experience of vicarious embarrassment and why every kind of embarrassment demands an audience.
See latest interview at www.sueddeutsche.de
The causal role of the somatosensory cortex in prosocial behaviour. Gallo S, Paracampo R, Müller-Pinzler L, Severo MC, Blömer L, Fernandes-Henriques C, Henschel A, Lammes BK, Maskaljunas T, Suttrup J, Avenanti A, Keysers C, Gazzola V. Elife. 2018 May 8;7. pii: e32740. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32740.
Scientists receive grants, bonuses, and tenure depending on the perceived impact of the journals in which they publish their research. Using the journal impact factor (JIF) for such purposes results in reasoning and argumentation fallacies. In our new publication we describe several “impact factor fallacies” by applying ideas from reasoning and argumentation research. We argue that using the JIF in policy and decision making in academia is based on false beliefs and unwarranted inferences and outline why we think that the world of scientific publishing is more complex than can be expressed with a two-digit number.
Link to the article at Frontiers in Psychology: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01487/full
Coverage of the topic by The Scientist: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/opinion-on-the-impact-factor-fallacy-31809
We are happy to announce that Johanna Voges (physician) received a 2-year stipend by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes)!
In her PhD, Johanna will focus on social reward processing in alcoholism and examine the interactions with the immune and stress system.
Dr. Lena Rademacher was granted a “Eigene Stelle” by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for two years.
In her project she will investigate the “Social aspects of restrictive eating behavior in anorexia nervosa”. Very cool!!
Frontiers in Psychiatry welcomes Professor Sören Krach from Lübeck University, Germany, as Specialty Chief Editor of the new Social Cognition section
Professor Sören Krach heads the Social Neuroscience in Psychiatry group at Lübeck University’s Social Neuroscience Lab. His clinical research focuses primarily on Autism Spectrum Disorder and social anxiety.
As the Specialty Chief Editor of the new Frontiers in Psychiatry section, he aims “to encourage scientists in the field of psychiatry to dare new avenues in the study of social cognition.” He also hopes to create a space for researchers to embrace the full methodological breadths of the field.
“Humans constantly represent themselves in the context of their surrounding social world and social interactions eminently shape how humans perceive, feel, and behave,” he says. “Perturbations in the capability to properly engage in social interactions have a severe impact on personal wellbeing. Accordingly, most psychiatric conditions reveal perturbations in social cognition.” (…)
New York magazine’s “Science of Us” editor explains the compelling psychology of awkwardness, and why learning to accept your cringeworthy moments can be a social advantage.
“Have you ever said goodbye to someone, only to discover that you’re both walking in the same direction? Or had your next thought fly out of your brain in the middle of a presentation? Or accidentally liked an old photo on someone’s Instagram or Facebook, thus revealing yourself to be a creepy social media stalker?”
Melissa Dahl, editor of New York magazine’s “Science of Us” website, has experienced all of those awkward situations, and many more. Now she offers a thoughtful, original take on what it really means to feel awkward. She invites you to follow her into all sorts of mortifying moments, such as reading her middle school diary on stage in front of hundreds of strangers, striking up conversations with busy New Yorkers on the subway, and even taking improv comedy lessons. [more at Penguin Random House]
Our new webpage is online! Here you will find information and updates on the work of our group.
David Stolz and other members of the SNL have been featured in a national TV show on social behavior. Please find the video and a teaser for the show below (in German).
“Warum klatschen wir, wenn alle klatschen? Warum kaufen wir dort, wo alle kaufen? Menschen imitieren das Verhalten der Gruppe, zu der sie sich zugehörig fühlen oder zu der sie gehören möchten – egal ob Nachbarn, Freunde oder Arbeitskollegen. Die Journalistin und Tagesschau-Sprecherin Linda Zervakis beleuchtet menschliches Sozialverhalten im Alltag.” [to the Video]
We have put together some tricky questions on “vicarious embarrassment” and “fremdscham” at the German ZEIT ONLINE. Please enjoy (in German)!
“Wann tritt Fremdscham am ehesten auf? Kann Babys etwas peinlich sein? Und welche Politikerin schämte sich für Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg? Beat the Prof Peinlichkeit!” [to the Quiz]
Our opinion on the Impact Factor and the rationale for (not) using it for evaluating scientific excellence has been featured in “The Scientist” online. In our biorxiv preprint you cand find a more detailed explanation of our argument.
“Papers published in low-impact journals are not necessarily low-quality scientific contributions.” [link to the article]
We are very happy to announce that Lena Rademacher’s most recent PET work on the recovery of dopamine function in former smokers has been featured on Reuters by Lisa Rappaport. The Biological Psychiatry paper contains all the details and can be found here.
“The brain makes less dopamine, a chemical involved in both pleasure and addiction, when people smoke but this temporary deficit may be reversed when smokers kick the habit, a small experiment suggests. “It is assumed that the brain adapts to the repeated nicotine-induced release of dopamine by producing less dopamine,” said lead study author Dr. Lena Rademacher of Lubeck University in Germany.” [link to the article]
David Stolz very nicely explains in national TV how social exclusion makes you suffer and why we need friends that support us. In this show on the famous ZDF David and the host Eric take kids and youngsters on a tour through the MRI. Check out the video below (in German).
“Freunde machen glücklich! Ob das wirklich so ist, findet Eric heraus…” [to the Video]
We have just come across this wonderful article by Julia Layton on HowStuffWorks. The article begins with a cringeworthy video of Ted Cruz and then nicely explains our take on why we experience such odd emotions as vicarious embarrassment for another’s predicaments.
“In this video from a January campaign event in Iowa, presidential hopeful Ted Cruz leans in to give his young daughter a kiss on the cheek. What happens next is pretty brutal: Cameras rolling, the 7-year-old flicks repeatedly at his face and then protests “Ow, ow, ow” as she tries to physically escape him.” [link to the full article]
This is a very intersting read on the pain the media corps feels when confronted with awkward acting and decisions of politicians by Haddas Gold in POLITICO. Somewhere in the middle of the piece on Jeb Bush’s excursions in the field you can also find reference to the famous “Fremdscham”.
“At a recent campaign Jeb Bush event in South Carolina, three voters in a row who were supposed to be asking him questions instead started giving the gentle-spirited candidate, who once pledged to run a “joyful” campaign, advice on how to be sharper.
It felt more like an intervention than a town hall. Reporters sitting at a table reserved for the press recalled making rueful eye contact with each other, with the unsaid sentiment, “Poor Jeb.”” [link to the full article]
It seems that Jeb Bush’s campaign offers a lot of examples illustrating the motivation for our research. In this article by Lucy Tiven on attn: she draws attention on a recent incident in New Hampshire.
“Jeb Bush is no stranger to embarrassment. A new report explains why despite his flubs and missteps, we’re prone to feel for the younger Bush brother.
A prime example of Jeb Bush’s embarrassing moments.
On Tuesday, the Former Florida Gov. pled for the audience of a New Hampshire town hall to “Please clap,” according to an MSNBC report.” [the link to the full article]
By: Melissa Dahl
Consider the recent adventures in awkwardness from Jeb Bush’s campaign: On Monday, the former Florida governor took the stage at a pre-caucus briefing in Des Moines after being introduced as “George — er, Jeb — Bush.” (the link to the full article)
This month, aggravating Alzheimer’s, brain banking for autism, babbling about BabyLab, and meta-neuroscience.
Von Karin Prummer
Warum schämt man sich eigentlich für die Missgeschicke anderer? Wissenschaftler haben sich der Frage angenommen und das Phänomen “Fremdschämen” untersucht. (Link zum kompletten Artikel)