The Scientific Reason Why Wearing Certain Clothes Can Make You More Artistic

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Forget what other people think of your clothing choices. What's important is that your own brain reacts to what you wear. What you decide to pick out of your closet in the morning can affect the way you think, act, and perform. Remember that one tomorrow morning while you're picking through your wardrobe.

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Narrator: Clothing is more than just decoration for the body or protection from the elements. Clothes have powers over your mind.

Scientists have demonstrated this in experiments in which they divided people into two groups. Group A wore their normal street clothes and Group B wore their normal clothes and lab coats. When those people went on to perform tests of mental agility, the group wearing lab coats made about half as many mistakes as the group not wearing lab coats. Stranger still, in a similar experiment in which both groups wore lab coats but one was told they were wearing painter's smock and the other told they were wearing doctor's coats. The doctor's coats group performed much better in brain games than did the painter's clothes group.

Scientists call this weird phenomenon "Enclothed Cognition," and they say it depends on both the symbolic meaning of the clothing and the psychological experience of wearing the clothes, constantly reminding you what those clothes represent. The symbolic power of a white coat changes depending on what you call it. And then, wearing it prepares you to be more attentive or more careful or more artistic. That feeling can then translate into actual changes in your behavior and performance, depending on the situation.

So remember, the clothes you wear don't just change the way other people see you. They change the way you see yourself. And wearing certain kinds of clothes can affect the way you behave and even change the way you think. That means wearing a pair of glasses not only makes you look smart, it also makes you feel and act like you are now less dumb.

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Thanks to You Are Not So Smart for the video. Thumbnail image by martinak15, used under Creative Commons license.

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Published:
Aug 01, 2014

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