Cuteness Overload Sparks Aggression, Study Says

When the cuteness gets too much to handle, people become aggressive

By on January 24th, 2013 09:53 GMT

During this year's annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, a team of researchers have made it public news that, as surprising as this may sound, aggression is actually a normal reaction to cuteness.

More precisely, those who find themselves saying things such as “I could eat you up!” or “You're so adorable I could squeeze you dead!” when faced with an incredibly cute pup, kitten or kid need not worry about something being seriously wrong with their psychological make-up.

The specialists have reached this conclusion after carrying out several tests with the help of volunteers.

Thus, each of the individuals who agreed to help them with this study was made to look at pictures showing adorable, fluffy pets.

More often than not, this so-called cuteness overload led to the volunteers' displaying signs of aggression, The Atlantic reports. 

However, the scientists wished to emphasize the fact that the aggressive behavior displayed in such situations must not be mistaken for the one people display when they are truly angry.

Quite the contrary: these supposedly negative manifestations were labeled by researcher as “cute aggression,” which is completely different from violent aggression.

Apparently, this cuteness aggression manifests itself when an individual feels that the situation he/she is being confronted with is too much for him/her to handle.

Thus, too much cuteness makes people feel like they are about to lose control over their emotions, and it is this loss of control that fosters presumably negative reactions.

Interestingly enough, it looks like a combination of cuteness and funniness is all the more likely to trigger heightened emotional responses in people, meaning that the urge to hug and/or squeeze a cute animal or kid is far greater when that animal or that kid is doing more than simply sitting around looking adorable.

Interestingly enough, the researchers believe that looking at cute pictures triggers such aggressive behaviors more often than coming face to face with something that an individual might consider to be adorable.

This is because in the case of a picture, the viewer is denied direct access to the thing causing his/her fuzzy feelings.

The study's full title is as follows: “It's so cute I want to squish it! How Cuteness leads to verbal expressions of aggression.”
Cute puppies and kittens are likely to spark aggressive behaviors
   Cute puppies and kittens are likely to spark aggressive behaviors
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