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Illusion of Transparency

There are times when people wish to conceal their thoughts, feelings, and emotions from others. Anxiety over approaching a potential romantic partner, feelings of disgust over a disagreeable entrée one is served at a dinner party, nervousness over delivering a public speech, or uneasiness stemming from telling a lie—all are internal states that people may wish, for a variety of reasons, to keep private.

How well can people conceal their internal states, and how well do they believe they can do so? Research suggests that people are often better at keeping their internal states hidden than they believe—that people tend to overestimate the extent to which their thoughts, feelings, and emotions leak out and are apparent to others. This tendency is known as the illusion of ...

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