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SPSP Symposium on Social Cure Accepted

SPSP Symposium on Social Cure Accepted

I will co-chair a symposium with Christopher Begeny at the upcoming Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in San Antonio in January 2017.




What makes us healthy? This symposium showcases new frontiers in the social determinants of health. Four talks illustrate how our psychological connections to groups—social identities—have the power to both enhance and harm our health. Beginning with identity’s potential to harm health, Smart Richman shows that construing unhealthy behaviors as part of one’s ethnic identity increases unhealthy eating under stress. Branscombe shows how perceived lack of belonging in the U.S. undermines Arab Americans’ mental and physical health. Turning to identity’s power to enhance health, Begeny shows across four groups that subtle cues conveying value and acceptance shape identity in ways that promote mental health. Haslam reveals how identities can treat mental illness in one of the first longitudinal interventions of its kind. Overall, this symposium presents new ways of understanding what makes us healthy, outlining identity’s dual power to harm and to heal.


Effects of Discrimination on Health-Related Behaviors: An Identity-Based Motivational Model

Laura Smart Richman, Duke University


Where do I fit in? Arab Americans’ Identity and Health

Nyla R. Branscombe, University of Kansas


Everyday Interactions Turn Strength of “Me” into Strength of “We”

Christopher T. Begeny, University of California, Los Angeles


Unlocking the Social Cure: Groups 4 Health

S Alexander Haslam, The University of Queensland


SESP Symposium on Deception Accepted

SESP Symposium on Deception Accepted

I will chair a symposium on The Upside of Deception at the upcoming meeting of the Society of Experimental Psychology in Santa Monica. Our symposium will be on Friday 30 September from 3:35 – 4:45pm.




A philandering spouse, a habitual liar, a secretive friend; the concept of “deception” conjures up an image of people at their worst. In line with this image, the psychological literature tends to focus on negative personal and social consequences of deception. In addition to incurring a cognitive cost and a well-being tax, deception has been shown to hurt relationships and undermine interpersonal trust. In this symposium we take a novel perspective by showcasing emerging work on the upside of deception. We show that not only can detecting deception yield personal and social benefits, but so can engaging in deception. Levine discusses the benefits of prosocial lies, demonstrating that lying for altruistic reasons increases interpersonal trust. Slepian examines how keeping secrets can be good for you, revealing that keeping positive secrets improves well-being. Kalokerinos explores the social benefits of keeping positive emotions hidden in order to protect another person’s feelings. Carney discusses the benefits of detecting deception and the conditions under which deception is most likely to be successful. The talks reveal that deception—both by omission and commission—can be good for you and your relationships, with diverse consequences for personal well-being, performance, and economic outcomes as well as the formation and maintenance of social relationships. By highlighting the unexpected upsides of being deceitful, this symposium brings nuance to the psychological understanding of deception—why it exists, when it should be used, and how people can engage in and detect it effectively.


Deception: The Trust Benefits of Prosocial Lies

Emma E. Levine, University of Chicago


Concealment: The Personal Benefits of Keeping Secrets

Michael L. Slepian, Columbia University



Suppression: The Social Benefits of Hiding Emotions

Elise K. Kalokerinos, KU Leuven



Dishonesty: How to Catch a Liar

Dana R. Carney, University of California, Berkeley