Will Burns

Unleash Creativity Blog

Scientific studies that help us unleash our most human attribute: creativity.

Creativity Can Come From A Suit?

It's about what you don. Right, Don?

It's about what you don. Right, Don?

A new study from Columbia and California State Universities, suggests that Don Draper may have been a big nothing without first donning his impeccable suit.

The researchers found that wearing clothing that is more formal than usual incites the wearers to think more broadly and about more abstract concepts than without the suit. 

It has to do with feeling powerful.

"Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world," says Abraham Rutchick, an author of the study and a professor of psychology at California State University, Northridge. 

A series of experiments were conducted to get at these findings. One had students self-assess their own clothing as formal or informal and then conduct cognitive testing. Just perceiving their own clothes as more formal led to improved abstract thinking.

Another test asked some students to arrive wearing what they would wear to an interview and others to wear what they'd normally wear to class. Again, those in the more formal wear demonstrated a better ability to think abstractly.

Should we scrap the jeans? 

Not necessarily. I know plenty of people who see some jeans as plenty formal, and remember it's the self-perception of formal that improves abstract thinking. 

So just make them nice jeans.

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