It turns out that those irresistible puppy dog eyes and chubby cherub baby cheeks aren’t just there to provide your daily dose of cute.
Researchers from Oxford University say that infants of all species have evolved that way to survive. The reason? Adorable characteristics that make you "ooh" and "aah" also trigger a care-giving response – kind of essential for completely dependent newborns.
According to Professor Morten Kringelbach, who led the review, cuteness is one of the most basic and powerful forces shaping our behaviour.
“This is the first evidence of its kind to show that cuteness helps infants to survive by eliciting care-giving, which cannot be reduced to simple, instinctual behaviours,” he said.
The study also showed that it’s not just about looks; lovable bambini traits appeal to all of our senses – infectious giggles; soft, dimply skin; that captivating baby smell – and will evoke nurturing behaviour in adults.
“This might be a fundamental response present in everyone, regardless of parental status or gender, and we are currently conducting the first long-term study of what happens to brain responses when we become parents.” Kringelbach continued.
In the meantime, we’re happy to test out the theory. Herewith, your daily dose of cute!