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‘Cute aggression’: Why our brains love puppies and kittens

| | December 21, 2018

I harass my dog [constantly]. She’s a little loaf of a thing, with big eyes and satellite-dish ears and a teeny snoot, and she is so cute that I have overwhelming urges to, among other things, bite her ears and gently boop her nose. As odd as this all might sound when spelled out, [lots] of people share these impulses toward dogs, babies, or other wee things they find excruciatingly adorable.

This affliction has a name: “cute aggression.” And for the first time, researchers have begun to map what’s happening in our brains.

Their findings, published [December 4] in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, suggest that experiencing cuteness sends many people on a neurochemical roller coaster, with their minds’ attempts to balance themselves resulting in bizarre, intense displays toward tiny, helpless beings. This over-the-top response might serve an important purpose: to ensure that those of us who experience cute aggression don’t spend so much time cooing at a baby or puppy that we forget to take care of it.

Related article:  Short days, dark moods: Can a brain short circuit explain SAD (seasonal affective disorder)?

Because caretaking is an essential element of human life, mapping the neurological events behind it could also help illuminate other notoriously difficult-to-treat problems, such as postpartum depression. Whatever the future implications, though, at least you now have a scientific explanation for any stray urges you might feel to jiggle a particularly chubby puppy.

Read full, original post: This Is Your Brain on Puppies

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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