Healthy people produce higher than normal blood pressure readings when the person taking the measurement is wearing a white coat.
Now it seems wearing the coat works the other way too.
A recent series of experiments demonstrated that wearing a white lab coat identified as a "doctor's coat" improved people's performance on tasks requiring care and attention. Interestingly, the lab coat had little effect when it was identified as an "artist's coat."
The authors speculate that the "symbolic value" of the lab coat influenced the wearer's thinking and behavior. They have dubbed the phenomenon "enclothed cognition," undoubtedly kicking off a whole new field of study.
And perhaps raising a few questions in offices around the country about casual Fridays.