Several weeks ago, my niece told me about the following Animal Planet video, which features baby sloths at a sloth sanctuary. In the past I didn’t pay much attention to sloths (except as a crossword puzzle answer). Not that I have anything against them. But I proceeded to watch this video twice that day and at least once every few days since then.
Yes. I’m cute. But I still plan to rule the world.
Why are so many of us content to watch videos with cute animals or babies? In an article, “Addicted to Cute?” columnist Eva Wiseman provides some insight:
In 2009 a scientific study came out proving that we undergo a chemical reaction when we look at babies. It proved that cuteness is physically addictive, which explains the billions of YouTube views for videos showing babies and baby animals.
Interestingly enough, according to this article by Carrie Arnold for Scientific American.com, many people feel more aggressive when they see cute babies or animals. For example, a person might express a desire to pinch a human baby or bite or squeeze baby animals. Think of how many times you’ve heard someone say of a baby, “I just wanted to grab his/her little cheek and squeeze.” Perhaps you have seen photos of babies online and can relate to that reaction. But Arnold explains further:
Cute aggression’s prevalence does not mean that people actually want to harm cuddly critters, Aragon [a Yale University psychologist] explains. Rather the response could be protective.
I can understand that desire to protect. After all, babies are small and vulnerable. And if an animal is sick or helpless (see sloths video), we feel especially protective. However, I wonder if some of these baby animals would trigger the same protective response:
Cuteness really is subjective, isn’t it?
Time for me to watch the baby sloths again. . . .
Have you seen that video before? Are there any other animal videos you have seen and love? What made you watch them?
Arnold, Carrie. “Cuteness Inspires Aggression.” Scientific American Global RSS. Nature America, Inc., 06 June 2013. Web. 05 July 2015.
Wiseman, Eva. “Addicted to Cute.” The Guardian.com. Guardian News and Media Limited, 11 June 2011. Web. 05 July 2015.
Puppy and kitty from activatingthoughts.blogspot.com. Lizard from imgarcade.com. Cute birds from aly-oops.blogspot.com. Snake from babyanimalpictures.blogspot.com. Baby hippo from tehcute.com. Baby elephant from hedweb.com. Baby spiders from spiderzrule.com.