Enclothed Cognition

New suit for an interview, sexy outfit for a date? It’s not difficult to work out that the power of clothing affects how other people perceive us. However, new research had been conducted into whether our clothes affect our own thoughts and this is known as embodied cognition.

The position and state of our bodies can affect our thoughts. For example, some people feel that cleaning their hands makes them morally purer. Research by Adam and Galinsky suggests that clothes can have a similar effect on our thoughts and this is known as enclothed cognition. The effects depend on 2 conditions:

1)      symbolic meaning of the clothing

2)      the actual wearing of the clothes

The research investigated the power of white coats, which are typically associated with scientists. 58 students took part in a test of their ability of selective attention, known as the Stroop test. The ink of a word must be named whilst ignoring the colour meaning of the word. Half of the students performed the task in a scientists white lab coat (they were told all participants had worn a lab coat), whilst other students wore their own clothes. Students in the lab coats made half as many errors on the critical trials of the Stroop test.

The participants were then tested on whether enclothed cognition which depends on the symbolic meaning of clothes and actually wearing them. Participants completed sustained attention tests that involved spotting differences between 2 similar images. The participants in the lab coats performed much better than others who merely saw the lab coat on the desk or others who wore the coat but were told it was a painter’s coat.

Does the new research findings mean other types of clothes could affect us in such ways, for example would wearing the robe of a priest make us more moral or would wear a police officers uniform make us more authoritarian? Despite this, I think that a true scientist should be able to make discoveries while wearing any type of clothes, not just a lab coat. It is the knowledge they use, not the power of the clothes they wear. Also the research depends on what the clothes mean to you. If you are an atheist wearing a priests robe may not make you more moral as the robe has no relevance to your personal beliefs.

 

References

 Jarrett, C. (2012). Introducing “enclothed cognition” – How what we wear affects how we think. Retrieved from: http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2012/03/introducing-enclothed-cognition-how.html

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Posted on March 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Recent research shows now that there is an inherent link withe the colour red through biological precess in various species, this includes humans. there is also a likely link between these process and social pairing of red with status. Research carried out by Elliot et al (2010) has shown that men wearing red clothing has increased their attractiveness to female observers. This effect was observed by digitally altered photos of a man so there shirt he was wearing was the only difference between the photos shown to women. The women not only rated the man in the red shirt higher, they also repeorted stronger desire to engage in romantic beahaviours with him dating, kissing, and even sexual intercourse.

    Paludi (2012) Reprot recent research suggest this effect is the same for men. Women who wear red seem to be more pyshically atrive to men, Although, this maybe more down to a more evolutionary and biological repsone within men. As research has suggested also that human females may also display subtle increase in skin reddening when ovulation is due to a number of factors. Enclothed cognition or not types and colours of cloths have great impact on the human evolutionary psyche as shown.

  2. Recent research shows now that there is an inherent link with the colour red through biological process in various species, this includes humans. There is also a likely link between these process and social pairing of red with status. Research carried out by Elliot et al (2010) has shown that men wearing red clothing have increased their attractiveness to female observers considerable. This effect was observed by digitally altered photos of a man wearing a shirt, so the shirt he was wearing was the only difference between the photos. In one photo the shirt was green and in the other it was red this was shown to a number of women. The women not only rated the man in the red shirt higher, they also reported stronger desire to engage in romantic behaviours’ with him dating, kissing, and even sexual intercourse.

    Paludi (2012) Report recent research suggests this effect is the same for men. Women who wear red seem to be more physically attractive to men although, this maybe more down to a more evolutionary and biological response within men. As research has suggested also that human females may also display subtle increase in skin reddening when ovulation is due to a number of factors. Enclothed cognition or not types and colours of cloths have great impact on the human evolutionary psyche as shown.

    Ps sorry for the spelling in the first draft..

  3. Enclothed cognition is a good way of controlling people and eliminating individual differences in environments where people are encouraged to work together and get along. Schools, work places and the armed forces all wear the same clothes but for different reasons. Uniforms will make people more likely to conform to the norm, in a way they help control behaviour. The uniforms worn by soldiers symbolise order, authority and discipline, they shape who they are and how they are expected to behave (Craik, 2005). There are many reasons for having strict rules about when and where soldiers are allowed to wear their uniforms. Zimbardo suggested that power is enhanced with a uniform, it also disguises the individuals identity. If people lose their identity and feel anonymous in a situation they are more likely to act in antisocial ways. Thus more likely to follow orders they don’t agree with or do things they would not normally do (Zimbardo, 2011).

    Craik, J., (2005). Uniforms exposed: from conformity to transgression, Art, Berg.
    Zimbardo, P., (2011). The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil, Philosophy, Random House.

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