Secretive and close? How sharing secrets may impact perceptions of distance

Jaffé, Mariela Elena and Douneva, Maria. (2020) Secretive and close? How sharing secrets may impact perceptions of distance. PLoS One, 15 (6). e0233953.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/77164/

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Having secrets is incredibly common. However, secrecy has only recently started to receive more attention in research. What has largely been neglected so far are the consequences of secret-sharing for the relationship between sharer and receiver. In this project, we aim to fill this gap. Previous research has shown that closeness can make secret-sharing more likely. Building on research from the self-disclosure and relationship literature, we experimentally investigate whether secret-sharing might in turn increase perceptions of closeness. In addition, we test the valence of the secrets shared as potential driver of the hypothesized effect, as negative secrets might signal a high level of trust, but might also present a burden to the receiver. To provide a holistic picture, we build on a variety of methods to investigate three perspectives: Study 1 focuses on the receiver and tests whether another person sharing secrets (vs. nonconfidential information) decreases distance in the eyes of the receiver. Study 2 investigates lay theories and tests how an observer perceives the relationship between two people who share secrets (vs. nonconfidential information). Study 3 tests whether these lay theories about sharing secrets are predictive of behavior, and how a sharer might choose secrets of negative or positive valence to decrease perceived distance on the receiver's side. Our results will contribute to the understanding of how sharing secrets affects the way individuals think about each other, how close they feel to each other, and how they interact with each other.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Society & Choice > Sozialpsychologie (Greifeneder)
UniBasel Contributors:Jaffé, Mariela Elena E. and Douneva, Maria
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Public Library Science
Note:Registered Report - Stage 1 Article -- Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:15 Jun 2020 10:02
Deposited On:15 Jun 2020 10:02

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