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Your Suit Is Making You Stupid

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
From this month's issue of Men's Health:

"A Harvard study found that dressing comfortably can boost brainpower. In a study of 88 students, those wearing sweats earned higher markes on cognitive-ability tests than those in suits. 'We had assumed that looking good made people feel good and helped them perform better,' says lead author Richard Bell, Ph.D. Instead, discomformt may distract the brain and make it harder to retrieve information."

Maybe we're on to something with this business casual thing after all.
post #2 of 45
those tests were written biased against stylish people !! And what about those baggy jeans and t-shirts. Those must be comfortable as hell...but...
post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toiletduck
those tests were written biased against stylish people
!!

And what about those baggy jeans and t-shirts. Those must be comfortable as hell...but...


Baggy jeans phoey - I do my best work naked
post #4 of 45
Do you have a copy of the actual study so that we can review the methodology and so on?
post #5 of 45
I would agree if the suits were uncomfortable, however I have suits that are well fitting and every bit as comfortable as any pair of sweats.

My "lucky" pants for school were a pair of gray cashmere trousers that were soft as butter and kept me comfortable in the overconditioned halls.
post #6 of 45
It is interesting to note that the study makes an assumption that tailored clothes are "uncomfortable".

Additionally, it makes another assumption, that a company (my assumption is these people werent observed just strolling about town but for an office setting) wants cognitive thinkers all the time. Sometimes during work hour it is better to have a team mentality. Also, part of its effect is on the eye of the observer and how they react to the person wearing the clothes. Without even touching on whether the subjects had ever "dressed up" before, this study appears it could be very flawed and pre-determined by "scientists" with an agenda.
post #7 of 45
Check the ghost riding thread to see this theory in action!
post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Film_Noir_Buff
Additionally, it makes another assumption, that a company (my assumption is these people werent observed just strolling about town but for an office setting) wants cognitive thinkers all the time...

post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Film_Noir_Buff
Additionally, it makes another assumption, that a companywants cognitive thinkers all the time. Sometimes during work hour it is better to have a team mentality.
Herd mentality? Better to not think? What? Are we talking about grocery bag packer? Mail room worker? Sweatshop? Assembly line?
post #10 of 45
Ive also seen numerous studies where going from business formal to business casual significantly cuts productivity.

Go figure....
post #11 of 45
Well the study was done on students... Most of which could afford to buy comfortable sweats, but I wouldn't say the same about the average students ability or knowledge to buy comfortable suits. Not to mention most students on the average campus would probably feel out of place wearing a suit day to day (at least as students). I'll be more impressed if it is reproduced on your average business person. However, I would say people probably do work better when they are comfortable, but wearing a suit doesn't have to be uncomfortable.
post #12 of 45
If I were taking an exam I would rather wear sweats and a tshirt than a suit/tie. The closer I am to pajamas, the more relaxed I'm gonna feel because no matter how well fitting/made a suit is, it will never be as comfortable as sweats.
post #13 of 45
The study is flawed. Just because students who wore suits performed worse does not mean that the sweats are responsible for diminished performance. The study does not establish causation, only correlation.

For example, people who are intrinsically smarter and better-prepared might prefer to wear sweats. When I was in college, I would wear ripped jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt in the back of a class full of blazered MBA students, yet I was the one setting the curve.
post #14 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifersfc
The study is flawed. Just because students who wore suits performed worse does not mean that the sweats are responsible for diminished performance. The study does not establish causation, only correlation.

For example, people who are intrinsically smarter and better-prepared might prefer to wear sweats. When I was in college, I would wear ripped jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt in the back of a class full of blazered MBA students, yet I was the one setting the curve.

I assumed that they told who to wear sweats and who to wear suits - they didn't just pick out people on campus who were already dressed that way. I doubt that the study is particularly flawed - in fact, it seems to make a lot of sense. Just like Get Smart said, I would go to tests wearing sweats and a t-shirt and felt a lot more comfortable that way than if I was wearing a suit. As some posters said, a suit does not necessarily have to be uncomfortable, but come on, a suit is never going to be more comfortable than a pair of sweats. Maybe there are people out there that would subjectively feel more comfortable in a suit because they were raised wearing suits or whatever, but objectively a pair of sweats is much more comfortable as a suit.

Also, someone mentioned that there are studies that found decreased productivity with business casual. I'm not sure that productivity and cognative ability are the same thing, or even related all that much.

And, no, I don't have a copy of the entire study. The quote I posted was just a little squib out of Men's Health.
post #15 of 45
Interesting. Then again, I agree. Taking exams are stressful; being in comfortable clothing allows you to relax. There ARE some places where wearing a suit just doesn't make sense, and taking an exam is one of those.
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