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You know those times when you see a little puppy or a kitten and it’s just so cute you want to smoosh it... and squeeze it... really, really hard? It’s not love, it’s raw aggression, according to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Researchers asked 109 people to look at pictures of animals -- cute, funny and "neutral" photos of puppies, who rated how they felt about the pictures reports

They were asked whether they agreed with statements such as "I just can't handle it!" whether they made them want to squeeze something or whether they were suddenly seized with the impulse to say something like "grr!"  The results? The cuter the animal, the more aggressive the response.

Researcher Rebecca Dyer, calls these responses "cute aggression.""We think it's about high positive-affect, an approach orientation and almost a sense of lost control," she said. It's so adorable, it drives you crazy.She added the emotion could be pent-up aggression, because we feel an impulse to to take care of it. When we can’t, because it’s just a photo for example, we get frustrated and then aggressive.

Dyer also suggested that sometimes we portray an onslaught of positive emotion in a negative way, like when you're so happy you cry. Giving positive emotions a negative spin can help regulate that high energy

Image via Thinkstock


Psychologists uncover what's behind the urge to crush cute things to oblivion
Digital Mag

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