Michael Slepian
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Secrecy research: Coverage in the news

"Trump backers who were afraid to tell their loved ones" (op-ed) CNN, May 2019.

"Why the secrets you keep are hurting you" Scientific American, February 2019.

"Should you keep a secret?" The Wall Street Journal, June 2018.

"The secret life of secrets" The New Yorker, May 2017.

"Why it's so hard to keep a secret" Scientific American, May 2017.

"The worst part of keeping a secret" The Atlantic, May 2017.

"Keeping secrets isn't so bad for you after all - with one exception" New York Magazine, May 2017.

"The price of secrecy" The Economist, April 2017.

"Your deepest secrets" (cover story) Psychology Today, March 2017.

"Spill the beans." The Atlantic, July 2015.

"Why you can't keep a secret." The Atlantic, March 2014.

copyright notice

Papers on secrecy


Slepian, M.L., Greenaway, K.H., & Masicampo, E.J. (in press). Thinking through secrets: Rethinking the role of thought suppression in secrecy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.



McDonald, R.I, Salerno, J.M., Greenaway, K.H., & Slepian, M.L. (2020). Motivated secrecy: Politics, relationships, and regrets. Motivation Science, 6, 61-78.



Slepian, M.L., Kirby, J.N., & Kalokerinos, E.K. (2020). Shame, guilt, and secrets on the mind. Emotion, 20, 323-328.



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



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



Liu, Z. & Slepian, M.L. (2018). Secrecy: Unshared realities. Current Opinion in Psychology, 23, 124-128.



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



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



Slepian, M.L., & Bastian, B. (2017). Truth or punishment: Secrecy and punishing the self. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43, 1596-1611.



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



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



Slepian, M.L., Camp, N.P., & Masicampo, E.J. (2015). Exploring the secrecy burden: Secrets, preoccupation, and perceptual judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, e31-e42.



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, 293-300.



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

Interactive graph: The experience of secrecy

What secrets do people keep? What is harmful about having a secret? People think about secrets outside of concealment contexts (mind-wander to them) far more often than they actually coneal their secrets within social interactions. Moreover, only the frequency of mind-wandering to secrets, not concealing secrets, predicts lower well-being. For more information, see Slepian et al., 2017

Explore the below graph by tapping / hovering over the circles, which reveals what kind of secret the data points represent.