Photo: Ahman Ardity. Source: Pixabay
A recent study supports this notion. It has long been known that what goes on with your body affects how your mind works. If we force ourselves to smile, we get jokes more easily; if we flex our muscles, we brace ourselves to resist temptation or tackle a difficult task. Stretching and relaxing our bodies relaxes our thinking.
Having a mind-body link is one thing; but it looks like there’s a mind-clothes link, as well. Some researchers tested the effect of wearing a white lab coat on people’s powers of observation. They found that students who put on the classic, white lab coats made about half as many errors as subjects who didn’t put them on. It didn’t work if the subjects thought the white coat was a painter’s smock, or if they just touched it or folded it. They had to think the coats were the classic garb of a scientist and then wear them.
The study indicates that clothes are more than an extension of our bodies. They’re part of our persona. That $1000 Armani suit doesn’t just look sharp – it also can help you schmooze with a crowd of deal-makers. Blue jeans aren’t just comfortable and practical, they could facilitate creative thoughts and down-in-the-dirt problem-solving. Embodied cognition suggests that our intelligence is about the interaction between our minds, bodies, and the world. Clothes affect more than how we feel. They seem alter the very way we see the world.
Clothes may not make us who we are, but they do have a powerful effect on our minds.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Charter Trust Company
“The Best Trust Company in New England”