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Off the Leash Off the Leash

Researchers: Seeing photos of cute animals incites 'aggression'

A Yale graduate student is trying to find out why.

By Vetstreet Jan 22, 2013 5:06PM

How many times have you said something like, “I want to eat you up!” when seeing an adorable puppy? An experiment by Rebecca Dyer, a graduate student in psychology at Yale University, and her colleagues found that seeing pictures of cute animals actually incites aggression in humans — more so than when they see funny or neutral animal photos.

Photo: Gary S Chapman/Getty ImagesThe researchers don’t know the reason for this aggressive tendency, but Dryer said it’s possible that seeing the picture makes us frustrated that we can’t actually care for the animal in it, or that it’s a display of overwhelmingly positive emotion — like the way Miss America cries with happiness when she’s crowned.

Bing: See photos of adorable puppies and kittens.

"We think it's about high positive-affect, an approach orientation and almost a sense of lost control," researcher Dyer was quoted in a Live Science article. "You know, you can't stand it, you can't handle it, that kind of thing."

The results were presented at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans.

— Read it at Live Science

More from Vetstreet:
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Photo: Gary S Chapman/Getty Images

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