Cuteness Overload

You are cute enough to EAT…or…SQUISH?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

When you see adorable, chubby babies, don’t you just want pinch to them? Maybe even BITE them? Well, you’re not alone. This feeling is called “cute aggression.” Huh? How can aggression be cute?

Katherine Stavropoulos from U-C Riverside wondered if there was a neurological explanation.

In her study, over fifty participants wore electrode caps to measure brain activity. They then goo goo and gaa gaa-ed over pictures of cute and… LESS cute babies and animals. They rated how adorable the babies were and their feelings toward them.

Her findings? As expected, those who saw cuter pictures reported stronger feelings of cute aggression. What about the subjects’ neural activity? Strong emotion and reward systems within their brain were activated. This suggests that we’re wired to be happy and excited being around cute things.

Researchers believe our strong response, or cute aggression, towards babies likely evolved from our ancestors. They think the reaction ensures that we are MOVED to nurture our helpless babies.

A good enough reason to squeeze those cute, chubby little cheeks!