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

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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?

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.