What does Cute Aggression mean in psychological terms ?
The tendency to be aggressive towards cute things is really weird. When we see or think of something very cute, like a tiny kitten, we first experience an overwhelming positivity, a predominant accumulation of happiness. Then, confusingly, we feel the urge to squeeze the cat to death at the same time as that feeling.
This effect was noticed by scientists, and a study was published in the journal Pyschological Science explaining that this second negative reaction may occur to counter-balance the out-of-control positive effect. A Yale University research group coined the term “cute aggression” for this condition, which is thought to be a paradoxical combination of negative and positive emotions, including tears of happiness or nervous laughter. These are known as “biform expressions”.
Cute aggression was first scientifically proven in 2012 by Rebecca Dyer and Oriana Aragon. In their experiment, 109 participants were asked to hold bubble wrap while watching a slide show of funny, cute, or expressionless animals. While there was an increase in popping bubbles when the cute animals were shown in the study, it was seen as a result of the experiment that the participants went out of control and popped more bubbles when they saw the cute animals compared to the other two groups.