Monday, March 7, 2011

The physiology of shame. (Part 2)

Want to win a prize?

I have searched long and hard to find some kind of statement on the physiology of shame.

Google has failed me like never before.
I have lost my faith and trust in the internet.

What will ever become of me now!!

It is easy to find the physiology of an emotion like anger. When you feel anger this happens

Car push

1. In response to an electrical stimulation in the hypothalamus area of the brain,
an extra supply of the hormone adrenaline is secreted and distributed.
2. Respiration deepens.
3. Heart beats more rapidly.
4. Blood pressure rises.
5. Sympathetic nervous system diverts blood from the skin. liver, stomach and
intestines to the heart, CNS and muscles.
6. Digestive processes are suspended. Stomach and intestines virtually stop
their secretions and movements. [Blood diverted to the muscles and heart and
lungs. This 'self transfusion' allows more performance of muscular power.
7. Glucose is freed from the reserves in the liver.
8. Cortisone production is increased in order to depress the immune system.
[Protection from an instant allergy reaction (such as asthma or closing of the
eyes), from a dust up with an attacking foe].
9. Spleen contracts and discharges its content of concentrated corpuscles.
10. Men have an increased supply of the male hormone testosterone. Provides
extra supplies of oxygen to feed the increased blood supply coming into the lungs.
Pumps more blood to the muscles and lungs, to carry more fuel and oxygen to and
from the battle front. This allows 'quick, short distance' energy supply. Fuel for
a sprint.

When you look at it that’s quite a lot of things.

"Eve after the fall". Rodin's famous sculpture - Eve - depicting the shame reaction.

I cannot find anything like this about shame or embarrassment. If you can then you may win a prize if you let me know

I have found stuff like this:
Common body expression and attitudes when one experiences shame include a bowing of the head, an attempt to hide the face possibly with the hands, a blushing of the face and possible sweating, body bent over on itself and possibly a closing of the eyes. It is like the person is endeavouring to make self as small and as invisible as possible and as a result there will be a strong drive to remove self from any company and seek to isolate self for a while.

Of particular interest is blushing or a reddening of the face and cheeks.
Why does that happen? Why don’t the knees redden, why the face?
And what is it?
Is it an increase in the blood flow to the cheeks or what?

Moose race

It's a good prize if you can help here.



  1. I had to Google, Bing, Yahoo and whatever to see if there was anything about the physiology of shame. As you said - zero.

    Plenty about how it feels (I could write a book on THAT). Does that mean it is a man made emotion? You know, starts in the head and infects the rest of the body?

    1. Go to TOMKINS,ORG. There you will find a lot about the biology of shame.

  2. Hi Linda,
    thanks for doing that. There is for some reason very little said about the physiological reaction of shame. I am not too sure why but there seems to be.

    Main stream literature on the topic would agree that shame is a natural inbuilt emotion in Man (or woman) just like sex and aggression are. So in this sense it would not usually be seen as a man made creation.

    BTW i think your new tattoo looks great and I also like that picture of you with the chocolate bar. I could use that one some time so do you have it on picassa?



  3. Hi Tony, maybe Darwin can help?

    Cheers, Dijana

  4. Thank you Dijana Z,

    That is most helpful


  5. I can email the pic to you Tony. I am a bit clueless with setting up Picassa.