Michael Slepian
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Michael Slepian is an Assistant Professor in the Management Division of Columbia Business School. His program of research examines the intersection of secrecy, trust and motivation. He investigates how the social, organizational and psychological dynamics around keeping versus revealing secrets influence the two important variables that govern social and organizational life: trust and motivation. He also has examined how concealing information during an interview fundamentally alters one's behavior and their interactions with others (Slepian et al., 2012, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General). Correspondnigly, one of the most important skills people need to develop is the capacity to know who is keeping a secret, that is, who telling the truth, and who is concealing the truth or even lying. He thus also explored how trust is formed and how and when people can identify when others are holding secrets (Slepian & Ames, 2016, Psychological Science). He has also investigated how people judge others' strategic behaviors in high-stakes contexts: demonstrating that even poker novices can detect deception in professional poker players, if directed toward the right nonverbal cues (Slepian et al., 2013, Psychological Science). For more information see his publications.

New research on secrecy!

A recent paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals what secrets people commonly keep, and that people think about secrets (mind-wander about them) far more often than they actually coneal their secrets from other people. Moreover, only the frequency of thinking about secrets, not concealing secrets, predicts lower well-being.

Explore the below graph by mousing over the data points, which reveal what kind of secret the data points represent.

Slepian, M.L., Chun, J.S., & Mason, M.F. (in press). The experience of secrecy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.