What Does It Mean to Be Comfortable?

Cultural expectations influence individual perceptions of comfort, but these expectations are evolving as globalization introduces new work schedules and styles. Still, there’s no universal ideas on a “right” temperature as people prefer what’s customary for them, explains Maggie Koerth-Baker for the NewYork Times Magazine. Norwegians’ aspire to make their homes comfortable for visitors and keep thermostats set to a high temperature throughout the day. By contrast, Japanese are content with warmed rugs. As a country like Mexico adopts US work schedules and abandons the siesta, Mexicans purchase more air conditioners and heaters. Koerth-Baker interviews one researcher who explains that societies have developed their own responses to local climates and “those tools and behaviors became ingrained cultural customs. As the world becomes more interconnected, these customs are changing, and so is the definition of something as elemental as comfort.” As fashions change, many feel a pressure to conform. Fortunately, the pressure to conform on styles also applies to healthy trends like sustainability. – Yale Global

What Does It Mean to Be Comfortable?

From siestas to spring fashion, cultural norms often dictate views of comfort and notions of best temperature – globalization is changing old habits
Maggie Koerth-Baker
Thursday, February 7, 2013

 Click here for the article in the New York Times. 

Maggie Koerth-Baker is science editor at BoingBoing.net and author of “Before the Lights Go Out,” on the future of energy production and consumption.

© The New York Times 2013

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