There’s A Name For The Feeling You Get When Something Is So Cute You Want To Squeeze It

Feeling a bit squee-mish?

1. Look at this kitten.


2. And this puppy wrapping itself up.

3. And these tiny ducklings almost falling over.

4. Did you feel an almost overwhelming urge to hug them all really hard?

5. If so, you might be suffering from “cute aggression”.


Cute aggression is the feeling you get when something is so cute you can’t help but want to squeeze it.

It was given that name by researchers at Yale University who investigated the phenomenon and presented their findings at a conference last year. They showed participants photos of cute animals (and “funny” and “neutral” animal pictures) and gave them some bubble wrap to hold. You can probably guess what happened next.

6. Participants popped significantly more bubbles when looking at pictures of cute animals.

People popped 120 bubbles on average for cute pictures, versus 100 for neutral and 80 for funny.

7. Wanting to squeeze a kitten doesn’t mean we want to hurt it.

“Rather the response could be protective, or it could be the brain’s way of tamping down or venting extreme feelings of giddiness and happiness,” researcher Oriana Aragon told Scientific American.

8. Anecdotal* evidence suggests it’s not just fluffy animals that can inspire cute aggression.

*I mean just look at this baby turtle.

9. Although fluffy baby animals always hit the spot.

Maureen P Sullivan

10. There’s evidence (OK, this GIF) that cute aggression can affect animals too.

11. Scientists are now working on finding out what drives the desire to squish cute things.


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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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