A Study of Cute Aggression
Can happiness manifest itself as aggression? Have you ever seen something so cute, you just wanted to squeeze it a little too hard?
Researchers at Yale University coined a term for this phenomenon, calling it Cute Aggression. The team at SoulPancake wanted to try the study out for themselves, gathering a group of volunteers for a quirky experiment involving everyone’s favorite packing material, bubble wrap.
Volunteers were shown slides of increasingly cute animals – giraffes, monkeys, and especially puppies – while supplied with a pile of the bubble wrap. They were told to do with it as they pleased. Naturally, what started out as a bit of random popping snowballed into something much noisier.
“For neutral photos you popped four bubbles. For the cute pictures you popped forty-five bubbles,” host Julian exclaims to one volunteer. The people were found to routinely pop far more bubbles, more frequently, when cuter images flashed on the screen. For one woman, the impetus was puppies. Another woman popped the most when seeing an ant. Although their definitions of cute varied, everyone shared the tendency to fidget, squeeze, twist, and pop as their eyes lit up with something adorable.
This begs the question: why would cute aggression exist? It doesn’t literally mean that we want to hurt cute things; the opposite is actually true. When humans see something cute, we have an impulse to take care of it. But when that image is on a screen, where we can’t reach, it frustrates us. The emotion is then expressed as aggression. It’s an example of positive emotions being exhibited in negative ways. Crying when we’re happy is the most obvious example. This one just happens to be a little more fun!
Powered by Facebook Comments