Why Do We Want To Squeeze Cute Things?
Science & Tech / /
Have you noticed that seeing something cute brings out aggression in the way we behave?
A recent research presented at Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual meeting in New Orleans, found 109 volunteers who were asked to look at funny, cute, and "neutral" photos of little puppies and kittens. The participants were then supposed to rated what king of emotions did they feel about the objects on the photos. Among the statements that were offered in order to express the emotional state were "I just can't handle it!", "It's so fluffy I want to die!", or perhaps whether the photos made them want to squeeze something, or they felt a disgust. What came as a result was that the cuter the animal, the more aggressive reaction was.
A group of researchers, led by Rebecca Dyer, a student in psychology at Yale University, named 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.”
In order to prove the results, researchers launched a second experiment. This time they were testing whether the aggression was simply verbal, or people really wanted to act out in response to wide-eyed puppies and kittens. For that purpose participants were given a bubble wrap and were told that they could pop as much of it as they wanted.
When they were faced with photos of cute little animals, people popped approximately 120 bubbles, while in case of watching the funny and neutral photos there were 80 and 100 popped bubbles.
The author of the study suggested that one of the reasons we feel aggression towards cute objects of photos is that seeing something cute, makes us to want to take care of it. But as it is on the photo we can't reach and cuddle it, so we get frustrated and then even aggressive.
Another possibility is that it's just too good. Sometimes we show our positive emotions in a negative way, for instance when we’re so happy we cry. Dyer supposes that giving positive emotions a negative connotation may help us regulate the powerful emotion we feel.
So the next time someone pinch your cheeks, just remember there is nothing you can do -- you are just too cute.