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Emotion. 2009 Apr;9(2):282-6. doi: 10.1037/a0014904.

Viewing cute images increases behavioral carefulness.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400400, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400, USA. gds6d@virginia.edu

Abstract

Infantile physical morphology-marked by its "cuteness"-is thought to be a potent elicitor of caregiving, yet little is known about how cuteness may shape immediate behavior. To examine the function of cuteness and its role in caregiving, the authors tested whether perceiving cuteness can enhance behavioral carefulness, which would facilitate caring for a small, delicate child. In 2 experiments, viewing very cute images (puppies and kittens)-as opposed to slightly cute images (dogs and cats)-led to superior performance on a subsequent fine-motor dexterity task (the children's game "Operation"). This suggests that the human sensitivity to those possessing cute features may be an adaptation that facilitates caring for delicate human young.

(c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
19348541
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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