The Secret Life of Secrets

It’s human nature to hide parts of ourselves that produce shame or anxiety. We tend to skip over details that could change how others perceive us. But no matter how big or small our secret, it will often weigh on our minds, and not for the reasons you might expect. This week on Hidden Brain, we talk with psychologist Michael Slepian about the costs of secret keeping.

Additional Resources:

Slepian, M.L., Kirby, J.N., & Kalokerinos, E.K. Shame, guilt, and secrets on the mindEmotion, Vol. 20, No. 2, 323-328, 2020.

Slepian, M.L., Greenaway, K.H., & Masicampo, E.J. Thinking through secrets: Rethinking the role of thought suppression in secrecy.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 46 (10), 1411–1427, 2020.

McDonald, R.I., Salerno, J.M., Greenaway, K.H., & Slepian, M.L. Motivated secrecy: Politics, relationships, and regrets.Motivation Science, Vol. 6, No. 1, 61-78, 2020.

The Secret Telephone by Matthew Chavez, Michael Slepian, Dean Haddock, and Thomas Reintjes, 2019. 

Slepian, M.L., Halevy, N., & Galinsky, A.D. (2019). The solitude of secrecy: Thinking about secrets evokes motivational conflict and feelings of fatiguePersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 45 (7), 1129-1151, 2019.

Slepian, M.L. & Moulton-Tetlock, E. (2019). Confiding secrets and well-being.Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 10 (4), 472-484.

Slepian, M.L. & Greenaway, K.H. The benefits and burdens of keeping others’ secrets.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 78, 220-232, 2018. 

Slepian, M.L. & Kirby, J.N. To whom do we confide our secrets?Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 44 (7), 1008-1023, 2018. 

Slepian, M.L., Chun, J.S., & Mason, M.F. The experience of secrecy.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 113 (1), 1-33, 2017. 

Slepian, M.L, Masicampo, E.J., & Galinsky, A.D. The hidden effects of recalling secrets: Assimilation, contrast, and the burdens of secrecy.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 145 (8), 27-48, 2016. 

Slepian, M.L., Camp, N.P., & Masicampo, E.J. Exploring the secrecy burden: Secrets, preoccupation, and perceptual judgments.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General144, e31-e42, 2015. 

Slepian, M.L., Masicampo, E.J., & Ambady, N. Relieving the burdens of secrecy: Revealing secrets influences judgments of hill slant and distance.Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 5 (3), 293-300, 2014.

Slepian, M.L., Masicampo, E.J., Toosi, N.R., & Ambady, N. The physical burdens of secrecy.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 141 (4), 619-624, 2012. 


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