„Cringe“ has won the vote for the “German youth word 2021”! We are excited to see growing interest in this concept, as it also addresses one research area of our lab for more than a decade.
Cringe is inextricably related to the social emotion embarrassment, addressing its experience on behalf of another. An earlier incarnation is the German “Fremdscham”, the Austrian “Word of the year” already back in 2010 🙂
More empathic people also show stronger vicarious embarrassment. Strictly speaking, it is not an empathic emotion
since observers not always have similar emotional experiences as the one being exposed.
Cringe thus often arises when someone is completely unaware
about violating the expectations of the audience or intentionally acts, without experiencing embarrassment on their own.