Has the Definition of “Cool” Changed?

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Attention: you may not be as cool as you think you are. But then again, you may be a great deal cooler. According to a team of psychologists from the University of Rochester, “cool” no longer denotes a detached, rebellious James Dean-type figure, but now more aptly describes, um, someone who’s really friendly. In a study originally published in the Journal of Individual Differences, U of R researchers analyzed survey responses from 1,000 participants from the Vancouver area and found that people tended to judge if someone was “cool” based on factors like “likeability, friendliness, attractiveness, confidence, and success.”

Wait, so being cool isn’t based on leather jackets, cigarettes, and dumping nerds into trash cans? “If anything, sociability is considered to be cool, being nice is considered to be cool,” said researcher and lead author Ilan Dar-Nimrod. That may be true, but we think it’s probably because “cool” has become a neutral catch-all positive that functions alongside and in addition to its original rebellious meaning. Still, we do have to admit that our mothers were right all along — it’s cool to be nice. [via NY Daily News ]