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The Power of Cuteness: Understanding Emotional Responses to Babies and Young Animals
  • Shiri Lieber Milo
Shiri Lieber Milo

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Cuteness elicits a wide range of emotional responses, including caregiving, playfulness, and even a desire to consume the cute entity. In this study, we explored four reactions to cuteness: caretaking, socializing, whimsical cuteness, and cute aggression. 105 female and male participants viewed images of young animals and babies (cute) and mature animals and adults (less cute) and reported their emotional responses. Results showed that cute images received higher ratings, evoking stronger emotions and a strong desire for caretaking, socializing, embracing, and playful interactions in both genders.
Moreover, our research highlights the predominant emotional response of caretaking and protection elicited by cute entities, which superseded other emotional reactions in terms of intensity. This emotion was shared by both male and female participants, with women exhibiting a slightly higher level of caregiving response compared to men. This study enhances our understanding of emotional responses to cuteness and provides a valuable quantitative perspective and methodological framework for future studies.