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Description: OK so you are an open and honest individual right? Of course you are. But do you have any secrets from anyone? Come along, be honest! Keeping secrets from other people comes with a toll. The easy thing to say is that it is hard work to keep a secret and that is likely true but what actually IS the hard part of keeping a secret exactly? Well think on that for a moment and then read the article linked below to see an account of some interesting Social Psychological research into the nature of the tolls associated with secret keeping.

Source: The worst part of keeping a secret, Julie Beck, The Atlantic.

Date: May 15, 2017

Photo Credit:  Roxi/Flickr

Links:  Article Link – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-death-and-the-self/201705/why-social-stigma-matters

What I find fascinating about the research discussed in the linked article is that none of the usual social memes about the psychological weight of keeping a secret are seriously examined. Rather we hear of an inquiry into the cognitive consequences of noting the secret being held in our own minds over and over and over. It ties in the ways in which our minds wander and continue to stumble over the secrets we are keeping. It is a very innovative way to think about an individual/social issue.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is keeping a secret hard?
  2. What factors contribute to the fact that keeping a secret id hard?
  3. What would the research discussed in the link about suggest we should do to lessen the psychological impacts of keeping a secret? And what if we cannot simply be more honest – what then?

References (Read Further):

Slepian, M. L., Chun, J. S., & Mason, M. F. (2017). The Experience of Secrecy.

Wismeijer, A. A., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2006). The emotional burden of secrets. Consequences for somatic health and implications for health care.

Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., Toosi, N. R., & Ambady, N. (2012). The physical burdens of secrecy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(4), 619. http://web.stanford.edu/group/ipc/pubs/Slepian-Masicampo-Toosi-Ambady_Physical-Burdens-of-Secrecy_2012_JEPG.pdf

Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., & Ambady, N. (2014). Relieving the burdens of secrecy: Revealing secrets influences judgments of hill slant and distance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(3), 293-300. https://www.ericaceae.org/~masicaej/Slepianetal2013SPPS.pdf

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