Wearing lipstick may help you feel smarter and boost cognitive performance
Researchers, including those from Harvard University in the US, studied how academic performance were affected by the so-called “lipstick effect” - a psychological phenomenon in which wearing cosmetics can make an individual feel a sense of overall enhancement in self-esteem, attitude, and personality.
Cosmetics have a well-documented effect on wearers’ psychology, in that the wearer feels more physically attractive and enjoys a consequent higher sense of self- esteem, researchers said.
However, a less well-known effect of this boost in self- esteem is that cognitive abilities may also be influenced, in that they are improved by positive emotions. Researchers devised a psychological experiment in which female undergraduates were sorted into groups and given a series of tests.
The test comprised of answering multiple choice questions about a chapter from a general psychology textbook. Before each of the three groups took the test, they all undertook a different mood-influencing task. One group applied makeup, another listened to “a positive music excerpt” and a third coloured a drawing of a human face.
The team found a significant increase in cognitive performance from the group who listened to positive music however, the makeup group performed the best. Test scores were significantly higher compared to those obtained after listening to positive music and therapeutic colouring, researchers said. The study was published in the journal Cogent Psychology.