This makes so much sense...
It makes no sense. We see a tiny puppy trying to climb the stairs, or a kitten playing with its friends, and we are totally overwhelmed with happiness and joy – and then want to violently squeeze the poor thing. But why?
Apparently, it’s not just us – it’s a scientific phenomenon. Dubbed ‘cute aggression’, the reason we just want to attack adorable animals with kisses and cuddles may be because our secondary, violent, more negative response may be trying to counteract the out-of-control positive impulses.
According to a study by Yale University, which was published in the journal Psychological Science, the phenomenon is one of many paradoxical combinations of positive and negative emotions, called ‘dimorphous expressions’ – similar to crying with joy or laughing nervously.
In the Yale experiment, 109 volunteers were asked to hold bubble wrap while watching a slideshow of various cute, neutral or funny animals.
When the cute animals came onto the screen, the participants began popping their bubble wrap much more than the researchers expected.
The urge to pop is even greater when the cute animals aren’t physically accessible – and the feeling applies to babies too, with further studies showing participants felt both positive and negative emotions, both wanting to take care of it and pinch its cheeks at the same time.
In fact, the most extreme ‘cute aggression’ was prompted after seeing very young babies.
So should we be worried about this aggressive side to our personalities? Apparently not, with the study saying our body and mind reacts this way to ‘support [our] immediate wellbeing’, as because a sudden rush of emotion uses up considerable energy, our brains must regulate their own emotional responses.
Next time you see a gorgeous puppy and just want to engulf it in a giant hug, don’t worry – you’re not aggressive. You’re just cute aggressive.
Do you experience ‘cute aggression’? Let us know @marieclaireuk