Blushing is a ubiquitous,but little understood, phenomenon that presents many puzzles. It is a visible change in our most conspicuous feature - the face - yet often coincides with lowering the head and avoiding eye contact, actions that seem to have more to do with hiding than with drawing attention to ourselves. We blush when we wish 'the ground would open up and swallow' us, but also when we are praised or thanked.Ray W. Crozier provides here a scholarly, yet accessible, account of research into blushing, relating it to embarrassment, shame and shyness, and proposing an explanation in terms of self-consciousness and exposure of the self. He reviews what is known about the physiology of the blush, considers evidence for its universality, and evaluates explanations in terms of a nonverbal signal of apology and a reactiuon to unwanted social attention. He goes on to critically assess interventions and treatments for fear of blushing.

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