The Brain-Focusing Power of the Lab Coat →


A new paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology finds that elementary school teachers worldwide might want to start encouraging students to put on their “thinking coats” instead of “thinking caps.”

Researchers found that ”wearing a white lab coat — a piece of clothing associated with care and attentiveness — improved performance on tests requiring close and sustained attention.” The researchers found no effects when the coat was identified as a painter’s coat. “The main conclusion that we can draw from the studies is that the influence of wearing a piece of clothing depends on both its symbolic meaning and the physical experience of wearing the clothes,” write the study’s authors. “There seems to be something special about the physical experience of wearing a piece of clothing.”

This research raises interesting questions: “Does wearing the robe of a priest or judge make people more ethical? Does putting on the uniform of a firefighter make people act more courageously? And perhaps even more interestingly, do the effects of physically wearing a particular form of clothing wear off over time, as people become habituated to it?”

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