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. 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.
Photo from 820453820 flickr creative commons.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.