One of the Videos from my Course: “Be Intelligent About your Emotions!”
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One of the Videos from my Course: “Be Intelligent About your Emotions!”

September 22, 2019


This video will look at our response to
cuteness. While not technically a basic emotion, the Awww response you have when
you see those kittens, is emotional and has implications. I’ll tell you all about
them. Our response to cuteness is pretty universal, and if you analyze it further
it has some common traits. These are the traits that cause us to find something
cute. Round heads, large eyes, chubby cheeks, small nose and soft and huggable bodies. And it’s not a
coincidence that we find these cute. Most mammal babies look like that. And no
wonder most mammals find them irresistibly cute! Stephen Jay Gould says
in one of his essays, looking at the evolution of Mickey Mouse, the Walt
Disney character … Mickey Mouse starts off as a not so cute little mouse, and
gradually gets cuter and cuter with more and more mammal baby features and
becomes a bigger and bigger favorite! Even alien characters in our favorite
movies like ET have mammal baby features, so that we find them cute. This
interesting fact was first discovered and documented by Konrad Lorenz and he
called them the Baby Schema. The reason we find these features cute, and the
emotions it causes in us, motivates adults to feel protective towards their
young children and take better care of them. That’s the reason we evolved this
response in the first place. Obviously this makes good sense because species or
organisms which evolved this capacity, took better care of their offspring and
that’s a great thing for gene propagation. There is a flip side to it
though, as I’m sure you guessed! Babies and animals that don’t look so cute do
NOT cause us to go all gooey eyes and we don’t treat them so well!
Studies do confirm this ugly babies and children don’t get as much attention
from their parents or other family members as cute children do, and may not
get as much encouragement and support as their cuter siblings or cousins. Cute
animals dominate our attention span and media coverage, the Panda being a prime
example. I bet you that if the Panda looked ugly we would not bother so much
with it! Aesthetic and commercial reasons have
become the primary deciders of which species in the natural world deserve
conservation and which don’t. Reptiles and insects, for example, don’t
look cute and no one would bother if they went extinct! And while that is
serious enough, it can get even more disturbing. Researchers from Brandi
University examined the results of more than 500 small claims court cases. They
found that the differences in cuteness had a huge impact on whether a defendant
was found guilty or not. For claims of intentional harm, like when someone
deliberately punches you after a heated argument, the most mature faced non cute
defendants had a 92% chance of being found guilty compared to only a 45
percent chance for the most baby-faced and cute defendants! But when it came to
negligent harm, carelessness, like when a neighbor isn’t careful and accidentally
knocks down your mailbox. For these crimes, the cute and babyface defendants
were more likely to be found guilty 85% of the time compared to the non cute
mature faced people who were convicted 58 percent of the time. So people don’t
think baby-faced people can do intentional harm, but they believe that
they are careless and easily distracted like babies. But we think that non cute
mature faced people are more likely to do intentional
harm, and this happens more generally too. Cute baby-faced people are considered
honest, sincere, innocent, trustworthy warm and kind, but like babies they are not
worldly wise and are weak and easily distracted. Stereotypes, anyone ?Remember
this happens subconsciously, not deliberately. Beware of these dangerous
stereotypes in your life. Baby-faced individuals are not any nicer or more
trustworthy or less prone to intentional harm than others. That’s just a dangerous
side effect of our emotional response to cuteness, which evolved so that we can
take better care of our babies and children!

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