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What’s the secret to being confident? Some people believe it's having a positive mental attitude, while others claim it's being wealthy.
But according to one researcher, the answer may in fact lie in what we’re wearing.
Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire said that specific clothing - including even superhero T-shirts - can make people more confident in all sorts of situations.
The research is outlined in her new book Mind What You Wear.
In the book she claims clothing affects a person’s mental processes and perceptions.
And ultimately, what you wear could discern how confident you feel about yourself.
We know our clothes affect other people's impressions of us,' Said Professor Pine
'Now research shows what we wear affects us too.
'Putting on different clothes creates different thoughts and mental processes.
'My book aims to make people more aware of this, to understand how changing their clothes can change their mood and their thoughts.'
In the study, she gathered a group of students and asked some to wear a superman T-shirt.
She wanted to know if heroic clothing would change how students thought.
Surprisingly, she found that not only did it make them more confident, but it also made them actually think they were physically stronger.
‘When wearing a Superman T-shirt the students rated themselves as more likeable and superior to other students,’ she explained in a release from the University of Hertfordshire.
‘When asked to estimate how much they could physically lift, those in a Superman T-shirt thought they were stronger than students in a plain T-shirt, or in their own clothing.’
It wasn’t just superhero clothing that affected a person’s state of mind, though.
In another test, women were ask to do a maths test in a swimsuit or wearing a sweater, with the latter group performing better.
Wearing a white coat, meanwhile, was found to improve a person’s mental agility.
And in the book she claims when women are stressed, they neglect 90 per cent of their wardrobe, choosing to dress up only to feel confident.
In addition to scientific research, Professor Pine said she also has ‘tips on how to feel happier and more confident with the right clothes, explaining not only that we are what we wear, but that we become what we wear.
Research has shown that wearing red clothes can make women more attractive to men. But do women take advantage of this fact by wearing red when they want to attract a man’s attention?
The color red is strongly linked to desire and attraction. Men are more attracted to women who wear red and it seems that women who want to attract men do so by wearing red. For example, there is evidence that women report wearing red clothes more often during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle. Women responding to an online survey also reported that they would be more likely to don a red outfit when dressing for a date rather than a non-romantic encounter.
However, scientists are never satisfied until they tackle a question from every angle. How do we know for sure that women prefer to wear red when they go on dates? Daniela Niesta Kayser of the University of Potsdam in Germany, along with collaborators in Munich and the U.S., invited women to visit the lab to participate in a psychology experiment. Interested women received email directions to the lab, along with a photograph of a male undergraduate researcher who would be running the experiment.
The team included the photograph in the email so that the women would be able to recognize the researcher when they arrived—at least, that’s what they told the women. In fact, the "researcher" was one of two students from another university whose photographs 20 women had previously rated for attractiveness. One man received an average score of 6.6 out of 9; the other got a score of 3.9 (not so hot).
Half of Niesta Kayser’s volunteers received a photo of the more handsome man, and the other half received a photo of the less attractive student. When the volunteers showed up at the lab, they learned that the researcher they were supposed to meet was unavailable, and so another researcher would be running the experiment. That researcher took a full-body photo of the volunteer. Later, other research assistants, who had no idea what the study was about, pored over the photos and made a note of what each volunteer was wearing. They classified volunteers as wearing red if any part of their clothing, including accessories, was red, pink, or scarlet. Colors less similar to red (e.g., orange, maroon, purple) did not qualify.
Women were more likely to show up to the lab wearing red if they expected to be greeted by the handsome man: 57% of the women who expected to meet the attractive man wore red, but only 16% of the women wore red when they expected to meet the unattractive man.
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