Enclothed cognition

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Enclothed cognition is a term coined by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky in their experiment from 2012.[1] It relates to the effect which clothing has upon a persons mental process and the way they think, feel, and function, in areas like attention, confidence, or abstract thinking.

Original experiment[edit]

In the original experiment back in 2012, Adam and Galinsky specifically examined the effects of wearing a lab coat upon the participants’ attention, which was boosted. Specifically, two of the conditions that were needed for this effect were that the lab coat needed to actually be worn at the time, as well as the coat needed to be meaningfully associated with a doctor. Those who were given the coat and told it was a painters coat did not experience the same attention boost.[1]

Other examples[edit]

While Adam and Galinsky coined the phrase of enclothed cognition, the concept of clothing affecting one's experiential cognition is not new. There have been several other relevant areas of study and consideration:

  • Formal clothing helps one feel authoritative and powerful,[2] even if you are less friendly and creative.[3] Can also enhance ability to think abstractly[4] as well as ability to negotiate.[5]
  • Casual clothes can boost openness and agreeableness.[6]
  • Active wear or gym clothes boosts the likelihood of both actually working out as well as making healthier choices.[7]
  • Luxury brand names (or lack thereof) can affect even political view points.[8]
  • Brightly colored clothes can improve our mood while more dull colors can create a more mellow mood.[9]
  • Socks and underwear, even though not seen can increase confidence and self image.[10]


  1. ^ a b Adam, Hajo; Galinsky, Adam D. (2012-07-01). "Enclothed cognition". Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 48 (4): 918–925. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.008. ISSN 0022-1031.
  2. ^ Pinsker, Joe (2015-04-30). "Wearing a Suit Makes You Think Differently". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  3. ^ Karl, Katherine A.; Hall, Leda McIntyre; Peluchette, Joy V. (2013-08-16). "City Employee Perceptions of the Impact of Dress and Appearance". Public Personnel Management. 42 (3): 452–470. doi:10.1177/0091026013495772. ISSN 0091-0260. S2CID 154353863.
  4. ^ Slepian, Michael L.; Ferber, Simon N.; Gold, Joshua M.; Rutchick, Abraham M. (2015-03-31). "The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing". Social Psychological and Personality Science. 6 (6): 661–668. doi:10.1177/1948550615579462. ISSN 1948-5506. S2CID 3057411.
  5. ^ Mendes, Wendy; Kraus, Michael (August 2014). "Sartorial symbols of social class elicit class-consistent behavioral and psychogical responses: A dyadic approach". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 143 (6): 2330–40. doi:10.1037/xge0000023. PMID 25222264.
  6. ^ "Benefit or Burden? Dress Down Days". archives.cpajournal.com. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  7. ^ Wiebe, Jamie (2013-12-12). "Psychology of Lululemon: How Fashion Affects Fitness". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  8. ^ Wang, Yajin; John, Deborah (May 2015). "Louis Vuitton and Conservatism: How Luxury Consumption Influences Political Attitudes" (PDF). University of Minnesota.
  9. ^ Elliot, Andrew J.; Maier, Markus A. (2014-01-03). "Color Psychology: Effects of Perceiving Color on Psychological Functioning in Humans". Annual Review of Psychology. 65 (1): 95–120. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115035. ISSN 0066-4308. PMID 23808916.
  10. ^ Tsaousi, Christiana; Brewis, Joanna (2013-01-01). "Are you feeling special today? Underwear and the 'fashioning' of female identity". Culture and Organization. 19 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1080/14759551.2011.634196. ISSN 1475-9551. S2CID 143515945.