February 4, 2013
ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why Do We Want To Squeeze Cute Things?
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.