What does it mean to be cool these days? Is it still the James Dean-like bad boy who flouts the law? What about the impenetrable colleague at work who oozes intrigue, or the fearless thrill-seeking friend? According to a team of psychologists, today’s definition of ‘cool’ is less about being a rebel without a cause, and more about being friendly.
After analyzing the survey results of 1,000 participants from the Vancouver area for the study, which set out to find the contemporary definition of ‘cool’, researchers from the University of Rochester found that respondents judged a person’s ‘cool’ factor by traits like likeability, friendliness, attractiveness, confidence, and success. The study was published in the Journal of Individual Differences.
“If anything, sociability is considered to be cool, being nice is considered to be cool,” said lead author Ilan Dar-Nimrod in a statement.
For their study, researchers organised results into three areas. In the first, respondents generated characteristics they perceived to be cool. In the second, participants rated dozens of traits on coolness and social desirability, while for the third, respondents rated their own friends.