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The Negative Results Of Concealing Who You Really Are On The Job

Update Date: Oct 09, 2013 09:34 AM EDT

Everyone must be aware that hiding things from others causes internal angst. However, a new research suggests that the consequences can be far more worse than expected. It primarily disrupts the concealer’s basic skills and abilities which also includes intellectual acuity, interpersonal grace and physical strength.

“With no federal protection for gays and lesbians in the work place, our work suggests that the wisdom of non-discrimination laws should be debated not merely through a moral lens, but with an appreciation for the loss of economic productivity that such vulnerabilities produce,” said Clayton R. Critcher, assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in a press release.

Four studies were conducted as a part of research. Each of them were a variation on a single paradigm. Participants were required to take part in an interview. Some of the participants were given special instruction on what all things they could reveal in the interview.

During another test, participants demonstrated poorer performance on a “Stroop task”. “Stroop task” is a commonly-used measure of executive cognitive function.

Once the study was completed, it revealed the variety of negative effects of concealment.

“Environments that explicitly or implicitly encourage people to conceal their sexual orientation—even when employers adopt a ‘Don’t Ask’ policy—may significantly harm workers,” Critcher later added, “Establishing a workplace climate that supports diversity may be one of the easiest ways to enhance workplace productivity.”

Critcher’s paper is named “The Cost of Keeping it Hidden: Decomposing Concealment Reveals What Makes it Depleting,” and is forthcoming in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. The book has been co-authored by Melissa J. Ferguson of Cornell University.

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