by Jamie Wiebe
Does expensive athletic wear actually incline us to work out? “Enclothed cognition” proposes that the clothes you wear directly affect how we think and what we do.
The Simpsons might seem an odd place to find scientific inspiration. Considering Homer’s affinity for couches and anything donut-related, finding insight into Americans’ psychological relationship with exercise and fitness also seems unlikely. But Northwestern researchers Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky did just that.
In “Team Homer,” an episode from the series’s seventh season, Springfield Elementary’s newly-instituted drab grey uniform (instituted after Bart’s “Down With Homework” tee causes an uproar) pushes the students into a zombie-like funk until a freak rainstorm washes off the dye, revealing the true color of the t-shirts: tie-dye. The students riot, and fun returns—all because of their clothes.