Why Do We Feel Urge To Squeeze Cute Animals And Babies?

Posted: Dec 9 2018, 8:27am CST | by , Updated: Dec 9 2018, 8:32am CST, in Latest Science News


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Why Do We Feel Urge to Squeeze Cute Animals and Babies?
Credit: University of Delaware

Scientists may have found a reason for seeing something too cute and feeling the need to squeeze or pinch it.

When we see something cute, why do we want to squeeze or even bite it?

There is a reason why it happens and researchers have named it ‘cute aggression.’ Cute aggression has been studied before. For instance, a team of Yale University psychologists released a study related to phenomenon in 2015. But recently, a researcher from University of California, Riverside has thoroughly studied the emotion and took it few steps further.

"The Yale researchers initially found that people reported feeling cute aggression more in response to baby animals versus adult animals. But even beyond that, people reported feeling cute aggression more in response to picture of human babies that had been digitally enhanced to appear more infantile, and therefore 'more cute,' by enlarging features like their eyes, cheeks, and foreheads.” Katherine Stavropoulos, a professor of special education at the University of California, Riverside said in a statement.

Cute aggresion is mainly considered part of behavioral psychology. But Stavropoulos wondered what happens to brain when people experience urge to squeeze, crush, or even bite creatures they found cute. To find out, she showed four sets of cute images to 52 participants and studied their brains via electrophysiology.

The study was designed to assess how adorable participants found each set of photographs and measured their brain activity before, during, and after viewing the images. Results showed that someone’s cute aggression appears to be tied to how overwhelmed that person is feeling. The more overwhelmed they felt after viewing cute animals or babies, the stronger neural reactions they experience.

"There was an especially strong correlation between ratings of cute aggression experienced toward cute animals and the reward response in the brain toward cute animals," said Stavropoulos. "Cute aggression may serve as a tempering mechanism that allows us to function and actually take care of something we might first perceive as overwhelmingly cute."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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