Clothing for Concentration – Changing What You Wear Can Increase Your Focus


Dr. Frankenstein Knew the Power of the Coat!

The “thinking cap” does not exist. The “thinking coat,” on the other hand…

Increase your by–drum roll, please–wearing a white lab coat. No lie. A study done by Adam and Galinsky, 2012, found that wearing a white doctor’s coat actually increased as measured by comparative visual search tasks.

That’s wy-hy-hy-hyld! They boosted brain power–not by engaging in Red Bull-fueled, late-night study raves; not by snarfing sweaty handfulls of gingko biloba pills and making animal sacrifices to Cerebro, god of mental prowess and dyspeptic marsupials (don’t ask); not by taking the red pill and jacking in to the training program–they did it simply by putting on a white “doctor’s” coat.

And, yes, I did have a reason for putting “doctor’s” in quotation marks in that last paragraph. Cuz’ the effect disappeared when the coat was described to subjects as a painter’s coat rather than a doctor’s coat! Things that make you go, “hmmm.”

The researchers also tried just having the subjects look at the lab coat and “identify with it.” I assume that means they asked them to imagine they were wearing it rather than having subjects ask about the coat’s child-hood and live, for a short time, in a hospital closet. Whatever the “identifying with it” entailed, it was a no go. Apparently you have to be wearing the coat to get the effect.

Clothes (at least, doctor’s coats) seem to make a difference on the ability to focus. The researchers didn’t try out other types of clothing (gorilla suits, anyone?), but just for laughs, you might trade in your flip-flops and cut-offs for more “serious” attire when concentration is a concern.

I wonder what a Batman suit does to your mental powers?

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