The simple act of putting on the white coat of a physician sharply improves your ability to pay attention. So claims a study in the Feb 21, 2012 edition of the “The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology”. The study is an attempt to answer the question of how and whether wearing certain kinds of clothes affects your mental processes. This idea builds on the already well-established field of “embodied cognition” in which, for example, holding a hot drink in your hand will make you more likely to perceive another person as being warm, and vice-versa.

But “enclothed cognition” takes this idea to another level. In one version of the study, students were divided into three groups: group one wore a doctor’s lab coat, group two wore a painter’s coat and group three only saw a doctor’s lab coat. When tested, the group that wore the doctor’s lab coat displayed significantly and statistically greater attention and focus. “Clothes appear to invade the mind and body,” said Adam D. Galinsky, lead researcher of the study.

I can only imagine all the fashionistas out there who read that statement and think: “We’ve known this for years.”