Cuteness aggression: Get your adorable animal fix

Cuteness aggression – have you ever heard of such a thing? This is the new term being given to that impulse that creeps up on us whenever we view a picture of something cute, innocent and vulnerable. (Think pictures of babies and baby animals.) It’s that impulse that makes us squeal, “Oh how cute!” and makes us want to reach out and pinch, squeeze or hug whatever it is we are looking at. Researchers are suggesting that one of the reasons for this “aggression” over cute pictures is the instinctual desire people have to want to take care of something that appears cute and innocent. But since we can’t reach through the picture and take care of it, we get frustrated and hence display aggressive behaviors. This is usually demonstrated by reaching out and touching/poking the picture, putting your hands up to your face or making your hands into fists. Most of the time we are not even aware we are displaying these signs of cuteness aggression. Another theory speculates that having positive emotions with a negative spin might help us to regulate the high energy we are experiencing, like when you are so happy you cry.

Well, cuteness aggression or not, I love to look at pictures of cute little furry things. (Puppies are my weakness.) I have more than one Pinterest board dedicated to these adorable little fur balls and I am constantly checking out books loaded with pictures of cute baby animals. I inevitably squeal, “Oh, how cute!” and reach out to touch the screen or page I am looking at.

I’m too not sure what I think of the term "cuteness aggression" – it doesn’t sound very positive. However, I do know that what I experience whenever I see a cute animal picture is positive. I always smile and feel happy, which is certainly a plus – I can always use more happy!

So if you are like me and enjoy cute animal pictures here are a few titles to check out:

Puppyhood by J. Nichole Smith – Life-sized portraits of puppies (25 different breeds) at six weeks old. Need I say more?

Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer S. Holland - 47 remarkable stories of unlikely animal friendships that will definitley have you aww-ing with each new story. My favorite is "The Pit Bull, the Siamese Cat and the Chicks" – they make such an adorable family!

Best Friends Forever by Rachael hale McKenna – This is a collection of babies and animal babies photographed together – double the cuteness.

One Big Happy Family by Lisa Rogak – It is so sweet to read these stories of animals taking care of one another and the pictures are even sweeter. "The Great Dane and His Baby Chimp" nearly had me in tears.

Newborn Puppies by Traer Scott – A collection of puppy pictures all taken in their first three weeks of life. Precious!

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel – Photographs of dogs underwater. Now this may not fall into the category of cute but is certainly fun and will definitely make you smile! The picture of Rocco, a 7-year-old Boston Terrier, is just hilarious!

And for those of you who are feline lovers check out:

ZooBorns Cats! by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland – Pages and pages of teeny tiny wild babies.

Kittens in 3-D by Yoneo Morita – More than just adorable kitty pictures this book is also full of information on what makes each breed unique.

Too Cute Kittens by Animal Planet – Page after page of kitty pictures that will leave you saying, "Oh, how cute!" 


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