Clothes make the man/woman (smarter)

The Sydney Morning Herald:

Say you’re getting ready for an exam. You spend hours brushing up on vocabulary; you do hundreds of practice problems – those are good techniques, but you might consider adding a new trick – wearing a lab coat.

People who wore white lab coats made half as many mistakes on attention-related tasks as those wearing their regular clothes, according to a study published this year by Hajo Adam, a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University, along with colleague Adam Galinsky.

It isn’t clear if the effect wears off over time, or if knowing the trick removes its effectiveness. But the idea that wearing “smart clothes” makes you smarter is one example of a growing field within psychology known as embodied cognition.

Embodied cognition is the notion that our physical experience permeates our thoughts and feelings, often unconsciously. It challenges what many of us think about ourselves: that we can make balanced, objective analyses independent of our physical state.

Read the whole story: The Sydney Morning Herald

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