Have you ever looked at an alpaca toy and suddenly felt the urge to squish its soft, fluffy body between your fingers?
It turns out that you and at least 50% of all people have this same need! But where does this bizarre desire to squeeze adorable alpaca toys come from?
A 'good kind' of aggression: cute aggression
Cute aggression is not a desire to harm cute things, despite the word ''aggression'' being in the name.
Instead, it's the brain's way of dealing with a mixture of overwhelming positive emotions that are brought forth by seeing cuteness, like an alpaca toy.
So, while you may feel the urge to smush that alpaca toy, deep down you know two things to be true: you'd never do that to a real animal and an alpaca toy is the perfect substitute that makes it possible to answer to that urge without doing any harm.
The science behind cuteness
The concept of 'cuteness' is closely related to an idea that's called the ''baby schema''.
Defining physical factors that are perceived as being cute like plump cheeks, large eyes, and short limbs.
Think of a corgi or an alpaca for examples of this schema. While an alpaca wasn't bread for cuteness, we can see that alpacas and their representations do check off all of these boxes.
When looking at something that contains more of these features, people tend to look longer and more often.
But why do you find these particular features so adorable?
One reason might be that there's a natural desire to nurture adorable things.
Human infants are more likely to be cared for and interacted with, and this may have played a role in our evolution and the way our brains work.
That's why, when we see other species with similar features, our brains want to nurture them as well.
An example of what this can do to a species is the ''domestication syndrome".
Over time, animals that have been domesticated take on more juvenile features as they become more docile.
Translating this to an everyday example is simple: a delay of certain cells in the developing embryo can result in 'cuter' things, such as floppier ears, shorter snouts, and smaller jaws.
Read more about these factors and why they improve our overall happiness levels in this blog article here.
Selecting animals for characteristics such as friendliness might have been the reason that more animals took on a juvenile, cuter look.
Read more about what different type of animals can be found as one of our alpaca toys in this article.
Are humans cute because of humans?
Some scientists speculate we might've domesticated ourselves.
Friendlier humans were more desirable in larger cooperative groups and could have initiated the domestication syndrome on ourselves. So how did this impact our own looks?
Smaller, rounder skulls and subtler brow ridges. All aspects of more juvenile humans. Even aspects that are found more in babies.
If cuteness is related to nurturing and decreased aggression, then why do we feel the urge to squeeze cute alpaca toys?
It's a way of coping with an overwhelming amount of positive and happy emotions.
When we see an alpaca toy that's just too cute, our brains may get too much intense feelings.
To deal with those intense feelings, slightly aggressive thoughts can occur to cope with the amount of cuteness.
The best ways to cope with alpaca cuteness
Deep down we just want to share our love for cuteness with the cute thing we're looking at.
But not all living things might be able to deal with our love for cuteness that's as bright as the force of 1000 suns combined ;)
So what to do with all this love?
The best option is to find a stuffed animal or alpaca toy to squeeze instead.
This is a harmless outlet for your 'cute aggression' and protects many cute dogs and cats around the world.
Channel that aggression into something positive and check out the entire collection of alpaca toys to see what your cuddle buddy could look like!
As an addition to this story, check out this TEDx talk about cuteness and why you're not too different from the rest of us ;)