Are you ‘cool’? It depends. According to two eggheads from the University of Rochester and York College in the U.S. (via The Body Odd), there are a handful of ‘it’ factors that combine to separate the in crowd from the outsiders.
To settle a personal conflict over whether or not the actor Steve Buscemi was ‘cool’ or not — an activity that clearly indicates their hopeless nerd status — Ilan Dar-Nimrod, a post-doctoral social psychology researcher, and Ian Hansen, an assistant professor of psychology chose to take a scientific approach to settle the matter.
To come up with an answer, the twosome asked a few hundred college students to generate synonyms for cool; to sort these qualities or characteristics in terms of their importance, and to go on and rank their friends according to the values they established for determining coolness.
If you’re labouring under the impression that the designation ‘cool’ describes a fairly shallow set of circumstances, you should know two things. One, you are a nerd. And two, you wish you weren’t.
The most necessary attribute for being hip to be square seems to be having a good personality, as ‘friendliness’ was most often cited as the single most important trait of the uber-cool, which may explain the frequent use of the term ‘popularity’ too.
Another necessity for being considered cool may be looking good in a leather jacket, or simply looking good, as most of the synonyms for being cool that the students gave were based on physical appearance or included descriptions for physical appearance. Words such as ‘hot,’ ‘handsome,’ ‘beautiful,’ ‘cute,’ and ‘sexy,’ popped up over and over again, said Dar-Nimrod.
The study revealed intelligence, talent, skill and/or overall competence in some area are further characteristics that provoke admiration from peers.