Secrecy in Everyday Life

What is this study about?

In this project, we are trying to understand the everyday experience of keeping a secret. Keeping secrets is extremely common: It turns out that approximately 97% of people are keeping at least one secret at any given time. We want to understand how secrets affect people in their everyday lives.

This is a new area of research, so your participation will help us extend research on secrecy and help people better manage the process of keeping secrets. This project is part of two students’ Honours theses for 2020. So in addition to helping science, you’ll be assisting us in getting our degrees!

Please note: we will never ask you to describe your secret in detail. We’re not interested in the content of people’s secrets, only in better understanding how having a secret affects people psychologically.

What will I need to do to take part in this study?

The study involves two parts:

  • On Day 1 of the study, you will download a smartphone application called SEMA3 and complete a baseline survey which will take about 45 minutes.
  • For the following 7 days, you will receive 6 short surveys from the SEMA3 app. These surveys will take around 2-3 minutes each to complete.

Who is eligible to participate?

There are 4 eligibility requirements for the study:

  1. You must be currently residing in Australia
  2. You must own an iPhone (iOS 8 or above) or an Android (Android 6.0 or above), NOT an Oppo or Huawei phone
  3. You must be comfortable installing the SEMA3 application onto your smartphone.
  4. Please note the study takes 8 days in total to complete. You must be available for this period, as payment will be contingent on participating in the daily surveys.

What will I receive for my participation?

You will be paid in GiftPay vouchers which can be used in over 100 Australian stores (e.g., Coles, Woolworths, Myer, David Jones, etc.). See for more information. These gift cards are only valid for use in Australia.

You can receive up to $50 for your participation in the study.

You will receive $15 for completing the baseline survey on Day 1. You will receive up to $35 for participating in the daily surveys over the following week, depending on how many smartphone surveys you complete.

  • If you complete 85% or more of the smartphone surveys, you will receive the full $35.
  • If you complete fewer surveys, you will receive a proportion of the payment. For example, if you complete 60-69% of surveys, you'll receive $25.

At the completion of the daily surveys you will receive a personalized report which shows you how your thoughts and feelings changed over the week. This gives you a picture of your psychological profile during the week.

Thank you for your interest in participating in the study but data collection is now closed.

If you want to participate in the future FEEL lab research let us know by contacting us via email at Please watch this space for a summary of results.


If you have any questions about this study, please feel free to email us at

The research team for this study is Dr. Katie Greenaway, Poppy Patten (Honours Student), and Melissa Petrolo (Honours Student).