Shame (or embarrassment) is a social condition and a form of social control consisting of an emotional state and a set of behaviors, caused by the consciousness or awareness of having acted inappropriately. Shame may lead to depression or suicide.
According to the late anthropologist Ruth Benedict, Cultures may be classified by their emphasis of using either shame or guilt to socially regulate the activities of their members. Asian cultures, as for example China and Japan, are considered shame cultures. European and modern American cultures, as for example the United States, are considered guilt cultures. Traditional Japanese society and Ancient Greek society are sometimes said to be "shame-based" rather than "guilt-based" in that the social consequences of "getting caught" are seen as more important than the individual feelings or experiences of the agent.
However no culture exclusively uses one of these internalized feelings. Anthropologists today reject this mode of classifying cultures.
Blushing is when your face turns red, usually as a result of embarrassment.
See also Modesty.
Shame is also the name of a 1983 novel by Salman Rushdie. For more information see Shame (novel).