Whether in a meeting, catching up with a friend, or chatting with a partner, we are constantly communicating and connecting with those around us. Yet hidden from these daily interactions are the things we do not say. We might hold back personal information from coworkers, hide our true feelings from a friend, or gloss over important details when speaking to a spouse. People keep secrets big and small, but what are the consequences? Because we cannot create major secrets in the laboratory (it would be unethical, of course, to get a participant to cheat on their partner or make a costly financial mistake), the exact manner through which secrecy harms our health has been elusive. But this hasn’t stopped us from trying to quantify and study secrecy—and the results, unlike the secrets themselves, are telling.
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