Collectively, students at Peabody High have decided that today they would come to school in their pajamas. This aspect of Spirit Week is looked forward to by many students because it reminds them of their favorite thing: their bed. Ask anyone at Peabody High (especially the seniors) and they will proudly declare that over anything, they love their bed. During the school year, the combination of sleep deprivation and stress has made the bed the optimal sanctuary. Under the protection of your covers, it is easy to forget about responsibilities and due dates. To me, going to school in my pajamas makes the day easier because a piece of me is still in bed. Wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants fosters feelings of comfort and ease. For this same reason, other students dislike pajama day. They feel like they need to be dressed up in order to be focused and do well on their exams.
It sounds odd, but the concerns involving outfits and performance in daily activities is legitimate. In a study conducted by Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and fashion psychologist, it was discovered that their is a strong correlation between how a person dresses and how well they perform throughout the day. Scientists found that if you wear a lab coat that is used by a doctor, your attention span increases. However, if you wear an identical lab coat that belongs to a painter, no improvement will be shown. Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, who led the study, explains this effect by saying the user of the clothing item must be aware of its symbolic meaning. For instance, the lab coat of a doctor represents intelligence, precision, and attentiveness. The scientists wondered if this symbolic meaning would be transmitted to the person wearing the lab coat. To test this, the scientists conducted three experiments where the focus was on selective and sustained attention improvements in students.
The first experiment conducted had 58 students either wear a lab coat or regular clothes and then try identify incongruities to test for “selective attention”. Those in white coats made half as many errors on the test as those who wore regular clothing. In the second experiment, 74 students either wore a doctor’s lab coat, a painter’s coat (identical to the doctor’s coat), or simply looked at a doctor’s lab coat. To test “sustained attention”, the students pointed out the differences in similar pictures. The result of this experiment was that the students who wore the doctor's’ coat saw more differences in the pictures than the students who wore a painters coat and those who only saw the doctor’s coat did. The third experiment also had results that said students need to wear the doctor’s coat to feel the psychological improvements.
This research has expanded our knowledge on the correlation between outfits and thought processes. We can now look deeper into hows people of equal intelligence may beat each other on a test because of what they are wearing. The experiment shows that attentiveness may be affected by the sweatpants you have on. What I have concluded from this experiment is that next time I have a math test, I’ll be wearing my grandma’s lab coat.