Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Enclothed Cognition

I'm just back from a wonderful visit with three out of my four girl cousins.  We met up along the beautiful South Carolina sea coast and I drove there with little Lucky the rescue dog as a companion.  He and I have been taking training classes in March in preparation for becoming a visiting dog this summer and the one on one time would be useful.  So I packed entertainment for the trip and thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book, The Social Animal, by David Brooks, the more conservative weekly commentator (the progressive side represented by Mark Shields) on the PBS News Hour and opinion writer for the New York Times.  Since the focus of the book is about how our unconscious values, instincts, and mental processes are often the drivers in our decisions, despite what our conscious minds think, I was taken with a related article in this morning's New York Times about the effect of wearing particular clothing on participants' behavior.  

If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases sharply. But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will show no such improvement.
So scientists report after studying a phenomenon they call enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes.
Clothes and Self-Perception Article

I've been a believer in "dressing for the part" for most of my life but felt somewhat old-fashioned in that belief in light of more casual clothing in all areas of society.  Seems that there's some truth to that maxim after all.  

Well, just thought I'd share.  Now it's time to get back to my latest sewing project and get back to a blogging routine.  What's a good garment to wear to end procrastination?

Dogpark at the new rest area on I-75 near mile marker 278

Enjoyable book and apt title for the fun I had last week


  1. Jane, I drive by that rest stop often! Didn't realize it was finished, or that it has a dog park.
    Love audio books while driving. Except sometimes it makes me miss my exits. ;)
    The article makes me think about older relatives who get 'dressed' every day, even if they don't leave the house, vs those who live in 'mumus' or pjs. I know I always feel better if I am dressed well.

    1. I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who missed exits while listening! I missed one of the turns to my cousin's place since I was so engrossed in this latest book.

  2. What a fun read, Jane. From the time I was in 7th grade I was fascinated by the idea that clothes affected the way people perceived and interacted with others. I attended 12 schools in my 12 years of public school, and I never knew how long we would be at a location. So, I learned pretty quickly some"tricks" of fitting in and gaining acceptance. Maybe that's what lead me to a PhD program. I really did submit a proposal for research on the topic. It was denied because the existing studies were anecdotal and not randomized trials. Alas, I never got to do the research that was of great interest to me. So, I'm pleased when I see studies related to this topic. Thanks.

  3. Wow, Carolyn, that many moves would definitely give you experience noticing the nuances of people in groups. Too bad your proposal didn't get accepted then, you would have been on the cutting edge of this concept.


Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."