Can you keep a secret? We refer to keeping secrets [ 1 ] they are material things. And a new study suggests that when we know a secret, we [ 2 ] ourselves as being physically burdened.
Researchers recruited participants to write a description of either a serious secret, like a story of infidelity or sexual orientation, or a more trivial secret. Then they looked at a hill [ 3 ] and were asked to rate the hill’s steepness. Those subjects who wrote about an important secret perceived the hills as steeper than those who wrote about trivial secrets. The research is in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Earlier studies have shown that people who are physically [ 4 ] also perceive hills as steeper than those who are not.
In a separate investigation, researchers found that subjects who recalled a significant secret also judged a target to be further off in the distance than those who remembered a less meaningful secret.
Hmm. So maybe [ 5 ] secrets will relieve you of a burden—then again, we better wait for a study on how stressful it is to lose every friend who confides in you.