Written by Molly, Pack Member
We’re Answering The BIG Questions
Why are kitties so darn adorable? Why don’t we get tired of scrolling through puppy pictures on Instagram? These are the big, life changing questions we’ll be tackling in this article. What makes certain things visually charming, and not others? As it turns out, there’s a lot more to the answer than you might think.
It Starts With Our Biology
In a nutshell, we find things cute because it is biologically necessary for us to take care of our children. Unlike many other newly born animals, baby humans are far more dependent for much longer on their parents. The problem is, babies are super annoying: they cry constantly and always need to eat, poop, or throw up. It is unfortunate that they are so incredibly needy, because from an evolutionary biology perspective, our entire purpose on this planet is to raise the next generation of humans. Psychologists say that the main reason why humans find their children to be adorable is because it inspires a nurturing response, encouraging adults to take care of the younger generations. Even further, studies have found that we pay more attention to babies that are cute over not-so-cute babies.
Big Eyes, Full Hearts
So what does that have to do with kittens? Because it is SO important for us to find human children cute, we find other things appealing when they share similar physical characteristics with babies. This concept is called baby schema. Big eyes, disproportionately large heads, small noses, small chins, and protruding foreheads are all features that young children tend to have, and so adults find other things with these features charming as well. Think of the most popular cartoon characters, or those puppies on Instagram – they probably have some or all of these characteristics. We’re even rewarded by our brains when we look at something adorable, because the mood-boosting chemical dopamine is released to make us feel happy.
Balancing Out The Cuteness
And then for some reason, when we get overwhelmed with something’s cuteness level, we get a little aggressive. We can’t be the only ones that look at our dog everyday and think, “oh man I just want to squish your little face!” Some scientists refer to this as cute aggression and suspect that we react this way to kind of neutralize the flood of positive emotions that we are feeling. This phenomenon is also seen when we experience other strong emotions, like when we cry when we are super happy. Our brain determines that we are too happy about something, and adds an opposite emotion (like aggression or sadness) to balance it out. Again, from a biological perspective, this makes sense. If we are mesmerized by the way something looks, that nurturing instinct isn’t going to work properly, and in our case, our pet wouldn’t ever get fed.
Cuteness Wins Us Over!
So there you have it, St PetersBARKers. Cuteness is the greatest weapon that babies have to get our attention, and it is also why we love puppies so much…sometimes a little too much. Be sure to tell your dog how cute they are today!
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