Are you a puppy!? Are you a cutest little puppernaut?! Are you a special one? Why are you so little? How did you get so cute and small? Why are you so cute? Why are you so cute!
No, seriously -- why?
John Pavlus and Christopher Mims, also known as Small Mammal, are here again with the latest episode of The Science of YouTube, the Popular Science video series that humanely anesthetizes YouTube videos, deftly dissects them, and labels their exposed organs for all to enjoy.
Last year, UK neuroscientists identified a specific signature in the brain most aptly described as the "awwww" response--the response that Lorenz hypothesized.
The researchers used magnetoencephalography to look at the entire brain with a high time resolution and visual detail to detect the response. They identified a specific response when test subjects were shown unfamiliar infant faces. The signature was not present with adult faces.
That warm feeling in your belly comes much faster than you might think--around a 7th of a second--after you see those adorable creatures. The researchers believe that this is far too fast to be conscious.
The article is freely available, albeit highly technical, from the Public Library of Science.