Cuteness inspired aggression is widespread.
By Lisa Wade, PhD
Don’t you want to pinch it and squeeze it and bite its little face off!?
You’re not alone.
Rebecca Dyer and Oriana Aragon, graduate students in psychology, brought subjects into a lab, handed them a fresh sheet of bubble wrap, and exposed them to cute, funny, and neutral pictures of animals. Those who saw the cute ones popped significantly more bubbles than the others.
Cute things make us aggressive! It’s why we say things like: “I just wanna eat you up!” and why we have to restrain ourselves from giving our pets an uncomfortably tight hug.
Which one do you want to hurt the most!?
An aggressive response to cuteness, it appears, it “completely normal.”
The authors suggest that humans non-consciously balance extreme emotions with one from the other side of the spectrum to try to maintain some control and balance. This, Aragon explains at her website, may be why we cry when we’re really happy and laugh at funerals.
In the meantime, if this makes you want to inflict some serious squishing, know that you’re in good company.
All pictures from Cute Overload.