International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 58, Issue 9, pp 1927–1939 | Cite as

Outdoor thermal comfort characteristics in the hot and humid region from a gender perspective

  • Chien-Hung Tung
  • Chen-Peng Chen
  • Kang-Ting Tsai
  • Noémi Kántor
  • Ruey-Lung Hwang
  • Andreas Matzarakis
  • Tzu-Ping Lin
Original Paper


Thermal comfort is a subjective psychological perception of people based also on physiological thermoregulation mechanisms when the human body is exposed to a combination of various environmental factors including air temperature, air humidity, wind speed, and radiation conditions. Due to the importance of gender in the issue of outdoor thermal comfort, this study compared and examined the thermal comfort-related differences between male and female subjects using previous data from Taiwanese questionnaire survey. Compared with males, the results indicated that females in Taiwan are less tolerant to hot conditions and intensely protect themselves from sun exposure. Our analytical results are inconsistent with the findings of previous physiological studies concerning thermal comfort indicating that females have superior thermal physiological tolerance than males. On the contrary, our findings can be interpreted on psychological level. Environmental behavioral learning theory was adopted in this study to elucidate this observed contradiction between the autonomic thermal physiological and psychological–behavioral aspects. Women might desire for a light skin tone through social learning processes, such as observation and education, which is subsequently reflected in their psychological perceptions (fears of heat and sun exposure) and behavioral adjustments (carrying umbrellas or searching for shade). Hence, these unique psychological and behavioral phenomena cannot be directly explained by autonomic physiological thermoregulation mechanisms. The findings of this study serve as a reference for designing spaces that accommodates gender-specific thermal comfort characteristics. Recommendations include providing additional suitable sheltered areas in open areas, such as city squares and parks, to satisfy the thermal comfort needs of females.


Outdoor thermal conditions Gender differences Taiwan Sun avoidance Environmental behavioral learning theory 



The authors would express a special thank for the sponsorship of the Headquarters of University Advancement at the National Cheng Kung University and Research Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the National Chung Hsing University.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chien-Hung Tung
    • 1
  • Chen-Peng Chen
    • 2
  • Kang-Ting Tsai
    • 1
  • Noémi Kántor
    • 3
  • Ruey-Lung Hwang
    • 4
  • Andreas Matzarakis
    • 5
  • Tzu-Ping Lin
    • 6
  1. 1.Program of Landscape and RecreationNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Occupational Safety and HealthChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  3. 3.Research Center for the Humanities and Social SciencesNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of ArchitectureNational United UniversityMiaoliTaiwan
  5. 5.Albert-Ludwigs-University FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  6. 6.Department of ArchitectureNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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