006 What makes some things so cute?

This week we’re looking at the science of cute! What makes some animals and babies so adorable? Why was this so important for our survival? What is the cutest animal in the world? And maybe along the way we get a little off track and end up discussing… well, a little bit of everything! It’s a fun one!

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The Cute Factor: The New York Times

Cuteness: Wikipedia 

Glocker, M. L., et al  (2009). Baby Schema in Infant Faces Induces Cuteness Perception and Motivation for Caretaking in Adults. Ethology : Formerly Zeitschrift Fur Tierpsychologie, 115(3), pp.257–263. (Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260535/)

Hildebrandt KA, Fitzgerald HE. (1978)  Adults’ responses to infants varying in perceived cuteness. Behavioral Processes. 3(2)pp.159–172.

How Cute Things Hijack Our Brains and Drive Behaviour 

Kringelbach ML, et al. (2008) A Specific and Rapid Neural Signature for Parental Instinct. PLOS ONE 3(2) (Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001664)

Konrad Lorenz: Wikipedia 

The Science of Cute

The Science of Cuteness – How Do We PPerceiveCute?: The University of Melbourne 

When We See Something Cute, Why Do We Want To Squeeze It?: National Geographic 

Why Babies and Other Things Are Cute, Explained: Stuff You Should Know

What Makes Some Things So Cute - The Here and How Podcast - Adorable Meerkat

Further Reading

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson (Not directly related to cute stuff, but referenced in Podcast)

Watch These

Baby Monkey!

GoT Sloths

MOAR Sloths


The Here and How Podcast Youtube Channel

Steve’s channel (Rationality Rules)

Rachel’s channel (Rachel Oates)

Thomas’ channel (Holy Koolaid)

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What Makes Some Things So Cute - The Here and How Podcast - Red Panda Eating

Like this? Don’t forget to check out last week’s episode: Where Did Life Come From?

Bonus Cute!

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