Oxford researchers have basically justified our love for all things cute, including babies, the sound of babies, the smell of babies (their little heads always smell so darn good!), pictures of babies, memes of babies, videos of babies, and GIFs of babies. Oh, and kittens. And puppies.
“Cuteness in offspring is a potent protective mechanism that ensures survival for otherwise completely dependent infants,” the study reads.
Want proof? With pleasure:
Of course it’s an evolutionary thing! What isn’t?
And it’s not just the sight of these chubby-cheeked wonders that makes us all soppy, we also react strongly to their smell and sound.
Research began with the previously arrived at conclusion that babies visually elicit these feelings that make us speak in stupid voices and scrunch up our faces. Y’know, they look cute. So cute. We can’t resist. The study took things a step further though, suggesting that our olfactory and auditory senses are involved, too.
“Infants attract us through all our senses, which helps make cuteness one of the most basic and powerful forces shaping our behaviour,” said Morten Kringelbach, who helped lead the study at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
The research shows that our brain’s pleasure centres, which give us a nice feeling when we listen to good music or eat good food, go just as wild for babies. Down to the way they smell, babies are made to make us want to love them—they’re an ongoing sensory experience.
If nothing else, this news is simply a great reason to revisit our favourite baby GIFs. Now if only we could smell them.