Cute

What makes something 'cute,' anyway?

Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM ET

Lookit' im! Lookit da fuzzy puppy. He's so cute I wanna eat 'im! And so on, etc. We are rendered powerless when confronted by cute, as we relearned last week when introduced to Siku, the impossibly cute polar bear cub in Denmark.  

But why? What makes something so impossibly, ridiculously adorable? As it turns out, there are scientists who are devoting their careers to discovering the answers to that question. 

When viewing the adorable, our brain gets a boost in its pleasure center -- after just a seventh of a second of looking at the cute widdle thing. Interestingly, research has uncovered the facial features that make something especially cute: big eyes. Big cheeks. Big forehead. (Which essentially proves, as a New York Times story asserted in 2006, that pandas are the cutest being on the planet.)

Dudes, think you're too dudely to get bogged down in all the cute? Not true. A study out last year suggested that responsiveness to cute -- as in, the amount of time a person chooses to gaze at, for example, a widdle bitty baby -- is about the same in both men and women. 

In other words: No one will blame you if you need to watch this video of Siku getting bottle-fed again and again and again. 

 

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