Monday, July 1, 2013


You're So Cute I Could Squeeze You to Death, Scientifically Speaking

From Scientific American:

New research by two Yale University psychologists details how the sight of something cute brings out our aggressive side. Rebecca Dyer and Oriana Aragon investigated “cute aggression” by showing study participants slide shows of either cute, funny or normal animal photographs. As they watched, the participants held bubble wrap. The researchers, attempting to mimic the common desire to squeeze cute things, told subjects to pop as many or as few bubbles as they wished. People watching the cute slide show popped significantly more bubbles than those viewing the funny or control pictures, according to results presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting in New Orleans. “Some things are so cute that we just can't stand it,” Dyer concludes.

Every study should reach this conclusion.

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So this explains, scientifically, why my husband always says to me, "Whoa there, Elmyra!" (as in Elmyra Duff from Animaniacs) whenever I come across most animals.


@olivebee Hahaha I just wikipedia'd Elmyra, and one of her famous quotes is "I love cats, I love kitties, squeeze them into itty bitties!"

Sums me up pretty well, actually.


I definitely squeeze-hug the Bergy Bits on a regular basis. Y'all they were trying to learn how to do the Hokey Pokey last night. So. Fucking. Cute.


@iceberg I am so jealous of that. They are the same age as my niece, and I'm missing out on so much!


So this explains the sudden teeth clenching around babies and things I cannot actually squeeze...


Poor dogs. They really want to play with toy but it taste so weird.@y


There are people who, given bubble wrap, will only pop some of it in any circumstance?



It took me a very long time to realize there was something besides that video attached to this post.


I'mma just repost a comment I liked from some other thread:


This dope cultural theorist named Sianne Ngai did an interview that really changed how I thought about cuteness. I still love cute shit... but I never thought about like this before (even when I went through my Obsessed-with-Yoshitomo-Nara phase): "Cuteness is a way of aestheticizing powerlessness. It hinges on a sentimental attitude toward the diminutive and/or weak, which is why cute objects—formally simple or noncomplex, and deeply associated with the infantile, the feminine, and the unthreatening—get even cuter when perceived as injured or disabled. So there’s a sadistic side to this tender emotion, as people like Daniel Harris have noted... The asymmetry of power that cuteness revolves around is another compelling reminder of how aesthetic categories register social conflict. There can be no experience of any person or object as cute that does not somehow call up the subject’s sense of power over those who are less powerful. But, as Lori Merish underscores, the fact that the cute object seems capable of making an affective demand on the subject—a demand for care that the subject is culturally as well as biologically compelled to fulfill—is already a sign that “cute” does not just denote a static power differential, but rather a dynamic and complex power struggle."

*But you will have to pry my Hello Kitty "back massager" from my cold, dead little adorable fingers.


@Onymous Huh, interesting! So perhaps part of the pleasure from tiny cute things comes from feeling more powerful ourselves? (...this makes a lot of sense to me from a kinky perspective, if that's applicable.)

does it need saying

@Onymous I wonder if this also pertains to miniatures of things.Is this why I find tiny complex things so amazing?


Funny, you'd think the reverse would be true, that because babies/baby animals are so cute, we'd be programmed to be more peaceful and mellow around them, to protect them. Oh, the vagaries of biology...


Puppies v.s various citruses are my favorite battles.


@TheRisottoRacket absolutely. this and the alaskan klee kai puppy vs. lime video = internet greatness


I have two three-month-old longhaired kittens now; I thoroughly understand this urge.


@Hellcat We demand MOAR pics!


@[sic] Haha--believe me, I have them because these kitties are ridiculous on the cute meter.


@Hellcat are they on the PinPets tumblr? and if not WHY NOT!!!


@iceberg I forgot that existed, actually! Good idea. I did put Peaches up there though a while back (she's the teeny-tiny orange tabby sitting next to a dollar for perspective).


Is this why my tumblr is now full of people going UGH GROSS GO AWAY I CAN'T STAND YOUR FACE at pictures of celebrities they like?



Tragically Ludicrous



I have a 1 month old kitten and I love your post. :)


Love this post.




I had to.

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