Ever found yourself wanting to squish a cute baby? Turns out there’s a good reason why!
If you’ve ever felt like eating, squishing or squeezing an incredibly adorable baby, you may not be as crazy as you thought. Affectionate aggression is a real thing, and it’s backed up by science! A new study has found that this slightly quirky phenomenon is incredibly common and even extends to our pets.
Too Much Cute
Published in the Frontiers In Behavioural Neuroscience, the study found that affectionate aggression is “the urge some people get to squeeze, crush or bite cute things, albeit without any desire to cause harm”. It’s a way of handling our emotions in the face of too much cuteness, essentialbaby.com.au reports, and sends us into ‘care taking’ mode.
The feeling isn’t just reserved for babies of the human variety either. Puppies, kittens and other pets can provoke a similar response. Kate Stavropoulos, lead author of the study, said that some people experienced affectionate aggression more than others.
“For some people who tend to experience the feeling of not being able to take how cute something is, cute aggression happens,” she said. “Our study seems to underscore the idea that cute aggression is the brain’s way of bringing us back down, by mediating our feelings of being overwhelmed.”
Important For Survival
While the study sounds like a bit of fun, the results indicate that affectionate aggression is actually important for survival. “If you find yourself incapacitated by how cute a baby is, so much so that you simply can’t take care of it, that baby is going to starve. Cute aggression may serve as a tempering mechanism that allows us to function and actually take care of something we might first perceive as overwhelmingly cute.” Imagine being so cute that you cause your parents to stop feeding you…nature is weird!
So next time you find yourself in the presence of a cute baby, be prepared! Affectionate aggression could hit at any moment.
Have you ever experienced affectionate aggression? Let us know in the comments.