Top Secret

The team [at Carnegie Mellon] recruited 62 adults who admitted they were keeping a life-altering secret and were willing to, as before, share a year’s worth of emails, including some from before they acquired their dirty laundry. More than half of the adults said the secret was of a romantic or sexual nature, with other major categories being “family,” “mental health,” “job” and “legal.” As in the depression study, overall these people wrote more, longer emails after they acquired their secret than before. When writing to people relevant to their secret, however, these individuals used more deceptive language, more negative emotion words and fewer words such as “I” and “me.” –Sanda Upson

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. What is your protagonist lying about and why? What will happen if the truth comes to light?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a secret that you are keeping. How does it affect your communication with people whose respect you want?

Art Prompt: Lying

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about how keeping secrets affects clear communication and give some strategies for becoming more transparent.

Photo Credit: Malakhi Helel on Flickr

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