Concealing Information Depletes an Individual's Performance

Study has implications for workplace, given potential economic consequences of concealment

FRIDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Deliberately concealing information, such as sexual orientation, diminishes the concealer's performance, including intellectual acuity, physical stamina, and interpersonal restraint, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Clayton R. Critcher, Ph.D., from the University of California at Berkeley, and Melissa J. Ferguson, Ph.D., from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., instructed participants to conceal information during a short interview -- either their sexual orientation or specified words.

The researchers found that participants who concealed information showed evidence of self-regulatory depletion, including deficits in intellectual acuity, interpersonal restraint, physical stamina, and executive function. Monitoring one's speech for content to conceal was sufficient to cause depletion, even in cases when there was no need to actually alter one's speech. There was no measurable depletion, however, when participants had to alter their speech without having to monitor for specific content to inhibit (either by adding false content or inserting specific words into one's speech stream).

"The studies are the first to assess which part of an act of self-regulation -- monitoring for specific behavior to override or the actual altering of that behavior -- is responsible for observed depletion," the authors write.

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Physician’s Briefing Staff

Physician’s Briefing Staff

Published on October 11, 2013

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