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The psychology of clothing, why what you wear changes the way you think?!
Written by SOT.COM.AL 30 Prill 2023
How much do you really think about your clothing choices? Most of us think of casual wear, formal wear, Friday night wear, but did you know that the innocent act of putting on a pair of white sneakers can initiate a number of psychological processes, changing your feelings, behaviors and even your cognitive abilities? This is fair. The psychology of clothing is complex and touches on culture, symbolism, neuroscience, sexuality, and many other aspects of the human experience. Fashion and clothing influence behavior in many ways, our perception of ourselves, how others react to us, our confidence and self-esteem.
The psychology of dress also affects notions of self and identity including conformity (dress to conform to social norms or to resist and challenge the status quo), self-expression (are your clothes a signal to others about values and your beliefs), cultural identity (do you choose what to wear as an expression of your cultural identity), gender roles (does your clothing reinforce traditional gender roles and expectations, or challenge and subvert them). Science even has a name for these phenomena. It's called "closed cognition," and it describes how the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, confidence, and even how we interact with others.
In the original study, scientists asked participants to wear a lab coat and then performed a series of experiments. When told it was a doctor's coat, participants did better on cognitive tests. But when they were told it was a painter's coat, they did worse. The scientists came to the conclusion that clothes systematically affect the psychological processes of the wearers. But even these psychological changes depend on the symbolic meaning we give to different types of clothing. So if we wear clothes that symbolize intelligence, we feel smarter. If we choose to dress strong, we feel powerful.
We even judge people we've just met based on their attire and occasion. It seems we also judge ourselves and our roles based on what we're wearing at a given time, because of how it makes you feel. This means that the experience of wearing something subtly affects our attitudes and our choice of behavior.