The art — and science — of sharing a secret

ideas.ted.com

Studies show the personal health benefits of sharing your private hopes and fears with trusted confidantes. But what if you feel alone?

You keep secrets from each other; you keep secrets from yourselves. Secrets bond you; secrets drive you apart. Keeping a secret can be a burden, or it can delight you. Sharing secrets can be a relief, whether it’s with your old friend or new therapist.

For children, learning to keep secrets is a vital developmental milestone. In one study, researchers asked kids who were three, four, and five to play hide-and-seek and to keep a secret about a surprise. Abilities to do the two tasks correlated strongly with each other, and with the kids’ social cognition. At three, the kids were fairly hopeless at these tasks; by five, most of them could keep a secret, and had the cognitive development to match.

For adults, this is expected behavior…

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