Study reveals impact of dress on human behaviour

USA (Wednesday, 05-06-2015, Gaudium Press) An article from the French newspaper Le Figaro, by Chloe Joudrier, reports that a study performed on American students, done by a team of researchers from the Universities of Columbia and University of California reveals that wearing formal clothing enhances confidence on oneself.

Study reveals impact of dress on human behavior.jpg

The habit does not make the monk but it gives him more confidence. This is the conclusion of a study called “The cognitive consequences of formal clothing,” done on students and carried out by researchers from Columbia University (New York) and the University of California. The way we dress will affect our behavior. In addition, the clothing will have an impact on our way of thinking. To dress in a very formal way will make us see things as a whole, to see things in a long term future. In general, to prefer wearing high level clothing will prevent from acting by impulse. Dress in formal clothing makes you feel more “powerful” and more capable of undertaking greater responsibilities. In other words, according to these researchers, people wearing formal clothing will more easily save or invest in long term.

These experimentations were done with the participation of students from a classroom. For the first test, they received no dress requirement. Before moving on to cognitive tests, they had act taking into account the criterion of elegance. For the second phase of the test, some had come dressed for a job interview and others were requested to wear their usual clothes. Students subject to the “dress code” of a “job interview” quickly developed arguments much more open than those of their colleagues wearing everyday clothes. “Putting a formal dress gives us a sense of power, which changes our common way of seeing the world,” says Abraham Rutchick, a psychology professor at the University of California and one of the authors of the study at The Atlantic .

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The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing
1. Michael L. Slepian1
2. Simon N. Ferber2
3. Joshua M. Gold2
4. Mr. Abraham Rutchick2⇑
1. 1Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
2. 2California State University, Northridge, CA, USA
1. Abraham M. Rutchick, California State University, Northridge, 376 Sierra Hall, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330, USA. Email:

The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing


Drawing from literature on construal-level theory and the psychological consequences of clothing, the current work tested whether wearing formal clothing enhances abstract cognitive processing. Five studies provided evidence supporting this hypothesis. Wearing more formal clothing was associated with higher action identification level (Study 1) and greater category inclusiveness (Study 2). Putting on formal clothing induced greater category inclusiveness (Study 3) and enhanced a global processing advantage (Study 4). The association between clothing formality and abstract processing was mediated by felt power (Study 5). The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.

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