Watch Cute Aggression: What Is It and Do I Have It?

Written by: The Exchange

Have you ever seen an adorable baby or sweet-as-pie puppy and been flooded by the overwhelming urge to squeeze or pinch them—not because you mean any harm, but just because your feelings are so intense? Then you have experienced what scientists call cute aggression. Indeed, this business of expressing positive emotions in negative ways is not uncommon (think tears of joy), though it is perplexing. Why do we have those feelings and what is happening in our brains? Are people who experience this more likely to show emotion? Learn more about this intriguing phenomenon from researcher Oriana Aragón who has pioneered much of the investigation in this area.


Oriana Aragón is an assistant professor in the Marketing Department at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati. Oriana works on solving the problem of how do we most effectively communicate? Specifically, she studies how emotional expressions economically communicate experiences and intentions with precision and nuance. She also works on identifying best practices for education and diversity and inclusion efforts. Her work is published in top-tier journals and featured in outlets such as Good Morning America, The New York Times, NPR, and Scientific American.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.