Drawing from literature on construal-level theory and the psychological consequences of clothing, the current work tested whether wearing formal clothing enhances abstract cognitive processing. Five studies provided evidence supporting this hypothesis. Wearing more formal clothing was associated with higher action identification level (Study 1) and greater category inclusiveness (Study 2). Putting on formal clothing induced greater category inclusiveness (Study 3) and enhanced a global processing advantage (Study 4). The association between clothing formality and abstract processing was mediated by felt power (Study 5). The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.
Social Psychological and Personality Science – SAGE
Published: Aug 1, 2015
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