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.
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