Seeing something cute actually does bring out aggression in us, according to a paper presented at Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual meeting in New Orleans last Friday.
Researchers found 109 people to look at pictures of animals -- cute, funny and "neutral" photos of fluffy, fluffy puppies. The lucky participants then rated how they felt about the pictures: whether they agreed with the statement like "I just can't handle it!" (or perhaps "It's so fluffy I want to die!" whether they made them want to squeeze something or whether they were suddenly seized with the impulse to say something like "grr!" The cuter the animal, the more aggressive the response.
The study's researchers, led by Rebecca Dyer, a graduate student in psychology at Yale University, dubs the phenomenon "cute aggression."
"We think it's about high positive-affect, an approach orientation and almost a sense of lost control," she said. It's so adorable, it drives you crazy.
But for the sake of thoroughness, researchers did a second experiment to test whether the aggression was simply verbal, or whether people really did want to act out in response to wide-eyed kittens and cherubic babies. Volunteers were given bubble wrap and told they could pop as much of it as they wanted.
When faced with a slideshow of cute animals, people popped 120 bubbles, whereas people watching the funny and neutral slideshows popped 80 and 100 bubbles respectively.
Dyer's suggests that one reason we have so much pent-up aggression over cute pictures is that seeing something cute, like a baby, drives us to want to take care of it. But we can't reach through a photograph to cuddle it, so we get frustrated -- and then aggressive.
Another possibility is that it's just too much of a good thing -- sometimes we portray an onslaught of positive emotion in a negative way, like when you're so happy you cry. Dyer speculates that giving positive emotions a negative spin might help us regulate that high energy.
So the next time an aunt moves in to pinch your cheeks, just think -- you can't help being cute. And if there are any follow up studies, I'd happily volunteer to look at some puppies -- kittens and bunnies are within my expertise, too.
It's probably a sexual thing instinctively derived by man to squeeze your mates stuff--and hopefully hers yours.
Ever hear the phrase, "Oh..... They are so sweet, I could just eat them up!", lol.
Those exaggerated response words of endearment are a type of poetry emotional release and should not be taken literal.
We need science to tell us this, oi.
yeah, sorry thats not normal. get yourself checked.
I didn't mean no harm, George.
we have a term for that here in the Philippines, it's called gigil: 'gE-gul\
Just another demonstration that "science" is nothing but lies.
Squeezing is not aggression! If it were, it would be followed by destructive acts. Popping bubble wrap doesn't count, since it's not living, the people knew they weren't killing something or hurting it. And many do enjoy just popping bubble wrap. And, if it is aggression, why do people also engage in stroking and petting?
Note a crucial part of the "experiment' and, frankly, a failing of many if not most if not all such "research". The participants are given specific, pre defined sentiments to choose between. THis will come to be recognized as a flaw in all such "experiments". It introduces a degree of "expert coercion", many people are led, by the "expert" status they imbue the "experimenters" with, to conclude that the answers they are provided must include the right one, that any automatic response by the subject, if it didn't agree with what the "experimenter" said, must be wrong! "Experimenters", then, essentially guide the "experiment" where they want it to go! In fact, and this should have been done from the word "go", "reserarch like this should include people being allowed to answer in their own words! "Experimenters", then, should sift through the material and tease out what is really being said. If a comparison was made between "experiments" where people used their own words and were permitted only to use the ones the "researchers" provided, it seems likely enormous differences will be seen! They likely won't be reported, because, then, it will haave ot be admitted that decades of "research" were a fraud, but the differences likely will be there!
My guess is that cute things are likely to be edible.
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Sir, please stay clear from my 3 adorable dogs. Thank you and take care. ;)
could you please translate that into Transylvanian so all of us can understand what you wrote. Or are you giving us a free lesson in Tagalog without telling us what it means.
Yeah like babies.
The other day some guy got a crumbed fried mouse at a local chicken outlet. He did not think it was edible. Wonder why?
Does this mean I should stop hugging my adorable great grand daughter. I had no idea I was subconsiously preparing lunch when I did that.
The little mouse in the article thinks to himself, "yes, yes, I will make that human my pet, this carrot is good", "yes, I will keep the human for my own!".
We? This article assumes a bit much.
Were the 109 people tested detainees in a correctional facility. That might explain the results.
Why do humans have an attraction towards "cute" things? It has to do with our evolution and our human ancestry. If you're referring to dogs or cats, were biologically programmed to like these types of things, in many instances people consider their pets their babies. The domestication of the dog was a big turning point for our species 15,000 years ago.
It's the same idea of why most people when given a choice of what photograph they like most, they usually pick the green rolling hills one or some type of savannah that's open and beautiful because it looks safe, plentiful, and tranquil, a place where our human and primate ancestors lived. There are things that are biologically programmed into us, and I'm sure liking cute things is one of them...at least according to this PBS or History special I watched whose name escapes me at the moment...but yeah, same thing with not liking icky bugs, we make that squirmy disgusted face, and jump back....well that's a warning mechanism biologically embedded into our bodies. It warns us of danger, which is why a lot of don't like bugs, spiders, snakes, etc.
Why do humans hiccup? It's a feature left over from when we were all fish.
"The first air-breathing fish and amphibians extracted oxygen using gills when in the water and primitive lungs when on land—and to do so, they had to be able to close the glottis, or entryway to the lungs, when underwater. Importantly, the entryway (or glottis) to the lungs could be closed. When underwater, the animals pushed water past their gills while simultaneously pushing the glottis down. We descendants of these animals were left with vestiges of their history, including the hiccup. In hiccupping, we use ancient muscles to quickly close the glottis while sucking in (albeit air, not water). Hiccups no longer serve a function, but they persist without causing us harm—aside from frustration and occasional embarrassment. One of the reasons it is so difficult to stop hiccupping is that the entire process is controlled by a part of our brain that evolved long before consciousness, and so try as you might, you cannot think hiccups away."
I didn't feel like doing heavy research, so if you want an academic credible source you can look for one on your own time, but anyway I thought it interesting to mention all this. Many things that we do today are part of our biological ancestry...it's pretty cool.
I wonder if they compared the desire to squeeze small cute things with bigger (like adult dogs and cats) cute things, or human babies. Considering our omnivorous evolutionary history, our desire to squeeze adorable small animals may be related to the fact that they make excellent eating and are easy to kill. Of course, this depends on how blanket "the desire to squeeze" is across cute animals. How much do humans feel the desire to squeeze our own babies? We find them adorable, but "squeezable?" In this light, feeling aggressive towards cute things actually makes sense as a reaction left over from our evolutionary history.
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Sometimes its not by choice. You could be holding your pet gerbil in one hand. Someone walks up to from behind and punches your back with considerable force. The reflex action would be to instantly make a fist.
If you had the gerbil in your hand at the time of the punch, you would most have likely clenched your fist tightly enough to crush your gerbil. In most circumstances, you could not have prevented the accidental squeeze since it was a reflex.
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Just as likely to surmise that the popping of the bubble wrap is a sign of a wish for some physical interaction when shown pictures of cuddly animals. They are pleasant to the touch, sot and warm. Interaction with the given device may just be taking advantage of the available stimuli.