March 23, 2016
Hi, my name is Sammie, and I suffer from “Cute Aggression.”
I’ve had this problem for as long as I can remember. I see a cute puppy and I have the urge to give it so much love that I’d probably squeeze the life out of it. I watch a viral video of a baby elephant waddling down the Sahara and burst into tears. I’m not the only one – it’s a fairly common ailment. Kristen Bell is a famous example as you can see here, her description is right on point. Worth the watch if you aren’t familiar with this phenomenon.
And #NationalPuppyDay yesterday almost ruined me. Facebook, Instagram – my feeds were literally littered with puppies. I was so overwhelmed I was nauseated and had to lie down for a few hours.
I know at times I can be a tad dramatic. I’m pretty intense, I know. But crying when you see a sloth? What is this? Hoping to find a cure, or at least an explanation, I set out on my own research study. Little did I know countless studies have been done on what’s been termed by the psychology world as “Cute Aggression.”
One of the most cited studies was lead by two researches in the Department of Psychology at Yale University (yes, YALE) who define the phenomenon of cute aggression as “dimorphous expressions of emotion.” This is the experience of immense positive feelings that turn into a negative emotion or response. Like when you’re watching a viral puppy video and must squeeze your hands into tight fists just to deal with it!
Now this study didn’t include any sociopaths. No one is saying people are actually squeezing the brains out of adorable animals. Many intense positive emotions look negative, like when Miss America sobs when being crowned. The high emotions are overwhelming. They’ve learned cute aggression is the way our bodies deal with such extreme episodes. The emotional spikes from these episodes cause our bodies to use up considerable energy. So, our brains compensate with a rush of an opposing emotion (like tears or balling up fists) to regulate our mental state and restore balance. So instead of exhausting yourself after the next adorable video you watch, your brain will help you conserve that energy and get on with your day! You might just need to cry a little first.
A bonus, and to my delight, scientists from Hiroshima University in Japan did the same sort of study that demonstrated how cute animal stimuli have powerful effects on attention and concentration. Their experiments concluded cute images can facilitate improved performance on detail-oriented tasks.
So if you’re feeling like you need a dose of concentration today, I’ve go you covered:
Here’s a video of a puppy being distracted that will actually help you concentrate thanks to science:
This little piglet thinks it’s a sheep. STOP!
This is Buck. Buck is a puppy who barks at his own hiccups. I can’t even think about it.
Don’t even look at me right now! I can’t!
And if you want to survive this crazy ride we call life, don’t ever go down the rabbit hole of @Pupflix Instagram. You’ve been warned!
Just let me love you!!