There's no denying that human babies are cute. But even other species tend to have adorable infants.
So, why have science conditioned us to find babies so precious? Is there something specific that triggers our urge to hold and squeeze them?
Interestingly, studies have found that Macaque monkeys pay little attention to newborn faces, leading researchers to believe that the cute feeling maybe entirely human trait. Unlike many other species, once born human babies are completely dependent on their parents for survival.
有趣的是 有研究發現獼猴不怎么關注新生兒，這讓研究者相信“萌“感可能只是人類的特點。和其他物種不同 出生后。人類的嬰兒完全依靠父母生存。
As a result, humans have adapted to find certain traits aesthetically pleasing and downright adorable in an effort to increase interaction, care and protection from parents. This, in turn, enhances offspring survival and perpetuates our species, but what exactly make something seem Cute?
Known as Baby Schema, scientists have come up with a set of tested traits that make something appear Cute. These include a large, round head related to the body, large eyes below the mid-line of the face, protruding cheeks, a big forehead, round body and soft surfaces. And no doubt, our species is born with fully-grown large eyes, almost full-size brains, soft skin, big cheeks and round bodies. In fact, in test where baby photos are manipulated to have more baby schema traits whether they are human babies, or dogs and cats for example, they are rated as Cuter and participants felt a stronger motivation to take care of these babies.
Even when the front of the cars were altered in accordance to the baby schema, like making the headlight larger to mimic big eyes, participants experienced a more positive response.
It turns out it's all in our head. When viewing babies with enhanced baby schema proportions, the Mesocorticolimbic System of our brain is activated. These parts of the brain enhance the anticipation of a reward and can lead to a sense of enjoyment, motivation to care for something and the urge to cuddle or hold an object.
But what about things that AREN'T so cute? In fact, some creatures are downright ugly, so what does science have to say about these? Our friends at EARTH UNPLUGGED have answered this very question in our collaboration on animals.