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PoiPoi's avatar

What is a scientific reason of why we have this insatiable penchant for things that look so cute?

Asked by PoiPoi (274points) May 30th, 2008

What makes us have this urge to fawn, snuggle, and squeal with such saccharine delight over anything that’s unbearably adorable? It’s not that I don’t like cute things, or that I didn’t experienced the joys from them. I LOVE cute things! All I’m asking is, when did we start recognizing sweet, dainty, beauty in objects, people, and animals? And does it help in survival strategy in any way?

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12 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

If mothers didn’t fall passionately and unconditionally in love w. their infants, they (moms) would be tempted to dash baby’s head against a wall at times. That’s my scientific theory, right until proven wrong.

wizard's avatar

Because they are so small and helpless, it’s almost like seeing yourself all over again as a child (if you are a parent.) It’s becausev they are in such an immature stage of their life, you can’t help but feel a soft-spot and care for the—(in my situation, a child.)

delirium's avatar

I have to totally agree with gail here. Its actually something one of my books that I’m reading is talking about right now but I’m on my phone so I’m not going to quote it.

marinelife's avatar

I agree also. It works for puppies and kittens too. The biology of it is that if we feel love/compassion/tenderness for babies (our own or animals) then we will care for them. Since they are not born able to care for themselves, it is a necessary biological imperative to ensure survival of the species.

Mtl_zack's avatar

it is because they are innocent. you love a puppy because all it does all day is play and cuddle. but if, all of a sudden, it attacked you, it wouldnt be so cute, would it. so, in my opinion, it has to do with innocence.

delirium's avatar

I don’t agree, zack. I think that wombats are darling, even though they rip people to pieces if they’re pissed off. I also think that a monitor lizard is cute even while its trying to bite my fingers off.

Mtl_zack's avatar

well, wombats always look like they have a smile on their face, even when they’re mad, so maybe it looks innocent, even though it isn’t. as for lizards biting you, maybe it tickles you and you relate that to playing.

i also read something that creatures that are neotenous relative to humans are cuter. there are scientific studies to show this, but i read this about a year and a half ago. i think it was in a book by Jay Ingram.

delirium's avatar

It doesn’t tickle. The monitor i’m talking about takes off your finger if it bites you. This is a good look at its skull.
This is a wombat attack.

I can come up with hundreds upon hundreds of examples of things that are cute but are extremely dangerous.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Maybe it’s because we’re not threatened by it. Or that little things are often cute, little caricatures of reality, they have soft edges, rounded corners, big and dopey eyes. I’m a sucker for miniature versions of things. In fact here, they have these little mini cans of cola, I had to buy some just because the packaging is so darned cute.

playthebanjo's avatar

natural selection?

marinelife's avatar

From :Natalie Angier”: on cuteness:

The human cuteness detector is set at such a low bar, researchers said, that it sweeps in and deems cute practically anything remotely resembling a human baby or a part thereof, and so ends up including the young of virtually every mammalian species, fuzzy-headed birds like Japanese cranes, woolly bear caterpillars, a bobbing balloon, a big round rock stacked on a smaller rock, a colon, a hyphen and a close parenthesis typed in succession.

The greater the number of cute cues that an animal or object happens to possess, or the more exaggerated the signals may be, the louder and more italicized are the squeals provoked.

Cuteness is distinct from beauty, researchers say, emphasizing rounded over sculptured, soft over refined, clumsy over quick. Beauty attracts admiration and demands a pedestal; cuteness attracts affection and demands a lap. Beauty is rare and brutal, despoiled by a single pimple. Cuteness is commonplace and generous, content on occasion to cosegregate with homeliness.

ftlqed's avatar

Because of evil intent, be it yours or subconscious, everything just work to some observer. Perhaps catastrophic, but each person eventually worms their way onto forming into a kindly thing. If they didn’t it wouldn’t be. I just think its simplification like game cube.

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