Q:Has there been any scientific research on why we are so attracted (read: obsessed) with cuteness? I heard that it was because it triggers our parental instincts, and makes us want to protect the cute baby, puppy, etc. But is there anything beyond that? Why do we spend hours looking at videos and pictures of puppies, kitties, owls, otters, etc? Why does my head explode (well, not really) whenever I see a disgustingly cute puppy?
The science of CUTE?
I feel you. I hereby name this scientific phenomenon “The Corgi Effect”, after the feeling I get when I see their widdle fat bewwies and big smooshy faces …
Sorry, got lost there for a sec. Where were we? Cuteness. The short answer, according to research, is that it’s all about babies. Baby animals, including humans, have a few common characteristics: large eyes, round faces, enormous heads, etc.
When we see them, the pleasure centers of our brain are stimulated. We associate that baby otter with need, harmlessness, vulnerability, and it’s the same brain regions that make you want to take care of a child. That makes sense in an evolutionary perspective, that we’d have a natural inclination to care for the young of our species.