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Does This Photo Make You Feel Aggressive? A Study Suggests It Might


"You know, you can't stand it, you can't handle it..."

How do you feel when you see this?


How about this?


Are your hands balled into fists? Are you making a tense face, possibly biting your tongue because they're just so dang cute you're thinking you might want to eat them?

If so, you might have "cute aggression."

New research presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual meeting studied the odd feelings some people seem to have when they see cute images, be it animals, babies, etc.

"We think it's about high positive-affect, an approach orientation and almost a sense of lost control," study researcher Rebecca Dyer, a graduate student in psychology at Yale University, said according to Live Science. "You know, you can't stand it, you can't handle it, that kind of thing."


Live Science reported that study participants were told they were going to be monitored for motor activity and memory. They were given bubble wrap to pop -- if they wanted - while they watched slideshows. What the researchers found was people watching a slideshow of cute images popped an average of 120 bubbles, funny images only resulted in 80 bubbles popped and neutral images 100 bubbles.

Here's some of the analysis of these findings from Live Science:

Dyer said she and her colleagues aren't yet sure why cuteness seems to trigger expressions of aggression, even relatively harmless ones. It's possible that seeing a wide-eyed baby or roly-poly pup triggers our drive to care for that creature, Dyer said. But since the animal is just a picture, and since even in real life we might not be able to care for the creature as much as we want, this urge may be frustrated, she said. That frustration could lead to aggression.


Or the reason might not be specific to cuteness, Dyer said. Many overwhelmingly positive emotions look negative, as when Miss America sobs while receiving her crown. Such high levels of positive emotion may overwhelm people.

"It might be that how we deal with high positive-emotion is to sort of give it a negative pitch somehow, Dyer said. "That sort of regulates, keeps us level and releases that energy."


If you're not already about to go all Lennie from "Of Mice and Men" from seeing these cute photos, check out this amazingly cute video on TheBlaze Blog of a gerbil that somehow is able to stuff a huge gerbil breadstick nearly twice its size into its mouth.

Featured image via

(H/T: Huffington Post)

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