The "want" to squeeze the cute thing/cute aggression is triggered in the brain when we see something overwhelming cute.
The results of this study are published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
For the experiment, they recruited 54 participants who were in between 18 and 40 years of age they also had to put on the EEG caps, which use electrodes to measure brain activity.
The recruits were then asked to look at 32 photos of cute things; these things were divided into four blocks: one had images of adult animals (which the authors here classified as "less cute"), one of the baby animals (classified as "more cute"), and two of human babies.
For the experiment, they altered the first block of human baby pics to enhance features that human's perceive as cuterólike big eyes and round cheeksówhile the other was altered make those traits less cute.
After seeing the photos, the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires that measured their responses to the photos clearly stating how cute they found the photo subjects and how much "cute aggression" they were experiencing.
They were also asked to rate the extent to which they agreed with statements like "I want to squeeze something." They also rated their own expressions of feeling overwhelmed by the pictures and of wanting to approach the subjects of the photos, and of wanting to care for these subjects.
As a result, the images of baby animals elicited the strongest response. The recruits expressed more of cute aggression, feeling overwhelmed, caretaking emotions towards the baby animals than adult animals.
They observed one more thing that the same distinction was not observed in the participants' reaction to images of babies that had been enhanced to look more or less cute, the authors believe that it could be because both sets of babies were "objectively pretty cute."
With the help of the EEG caps, researchers were also able to find out the brain activity of participants who experienced the cute onslaught. The response was associated with a greater activity not only in the brain's emotional systems but also in its reward systems, which regulate motivation, pleasure, and feelings of "wanting."
Cute aggression could be our brain's way of coping with the overwhelming response that occurs when these two powerful brain systems are triggered suspect the authors, they believe to temper the onslaught of positive feelings, in other words, the brain tosses in a dash of aggression.
"[I]f you find yourself incapacitated by how cute a baby isóso much so that you simply can't take care of itóthat baby is going to starve," Stavropoulos says.
- » News Central
- » Popular News
- » Latest Health News
- » News Category A-Z (500+)
- » Health News and Press Release
- » News Archive
- » News Photo Gallery
- » Lifestyle and Wellness
- » Health Watch
- » Health In Focus
- » Celebrating Life
- » Breaking Health News
- » News From Other Resources
- » India Special
- » News Video Gallery
- » Medindia Exclusive - Interviews and In depth Reports