Cuteness is the appeal commonly associated with neoteny.
Humans respond favorably to a neotenized appearance A neotenized appearance elicits sympathy from humans as well as protective urges. People with cuter faces are perceived to be "warmer," more honest and more employable for jobs.
Not only humans, but other "adult mammals" are hard-wired to have their "aggressive behavior" inhibited and exhibit "caring" and "nurturing" attitudes toward the appearance of "mammalian infants".
Role in evolution
Human children have evolved to stay neotenized longer, so human adults will care for them longer due to their cuteness.
Humans have more neotenized skulls than Neanderthals, so anthropologist Björn Kurtén believes humans may have achieved territorial dominance over Neanderthals by virtue of their cuter faces which enabled them to play off the Neanderthals nurturing instincts.
In cartoons, toys and advertising
Stephen Jay Gould claims that over the past 50 years Mickey Mouse has been drawn cuter to make him more appealing by increasing the size of his eyes, shortening his limbs and reducing the projection of his snout. Gould contrasts the neotenized Mickey Mouse with the Goofy who portrays "exaggerated adult" features such as a proportionally "small head" and "prominent snout". Moreover, Gould adds, Disney villains and characters who exhibit bad behavior such as Donald also tend to have a less cute appearance.
In other animals
In the USA, the more neotenized an animal is the more "endearing" and "charming" it is considered to appear and the greater moral value ascribed to it.
Unlike an adult triceratops, a baby triceratops lacked large protruding horns, a large snout, and large boney plate crown, but had huge eyes, suggesting that cuteness may be a very, very old survival strategy for young offspring.
Michel Gauthier-Clerc, a penguin researcher, claims humans perceive penguins to be cute due their waddle-walk which resembles a human baby and their upright posture.
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- ^ Babyfaces, Trait Inferences, and Company Evaluations in a Public Relations Crisis, Gerald Gorn, Yuwei Jiang, and Gita Johar, Journal of Consumer Research, vol 58, no 1, June 2008
- ^ Keating, C.F. Do Babyfaced Adults Receive More Help? The (Cross-Cultural) Case of the Lost Resume. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior Volume 27, Number 2, 89-109, DOI: 10.1023/A:1023962425692.
- ^ a b Smith, J.M. (1958). The theory of evolution. Cambridge University Press.
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- ^ a b c d Gould. S.J. A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse, in The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History. W.W. Norton & Company, 1980.
- ^ Bryne, R.W. Animal Evolution: Foxy Friends. In Current Biology Vol 15 No 3
- ^ Lawrence, E. A. (1986). Neoteny in American perceptions of animals. Journal of Psychoanalytic Anthropology, Vol 9(1), 41-54.
- ^ 03.06.2006 - Smallest Triceratops skull described
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Look at other dictionaries:
Cuteness — Cute ness, n. Acuteness; cunning. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
cuteness — noun The state of being cute. He thought his sister looked great in shorts; he said they gave her cuteness an extreme boost … Wiktionary
cuteness — cute ► ADJECTIVE 1) endearingly pretty. 2) N. Amer. informal sexually attractive. 3) informal, chiefly N. Amer. clever; shrewd. DERIVATIVES cutely adverb cuteness noun. ORIGIN shortening of ACUTE … English terms dictionary
cuteness — noun see cute I … New Collegiate Dictionary
cuteness — See cutely. * * * … Universalium
cuteness — n. appealingness, prettiness; craftiness, shrewdness … English contemporary dictionary
cuteness — cute·ness … English syllables
cuteness — See: cute … English dictionary
cuteness — cute (kyo͞ot) adj. cut·er, cut·est 1) a) Attractive or pretty in a youthful or dainty way: »a cute puppy; a child wearing a cute outfit. b) Sexually attractive; good looking: »a cute boyfriend. 2) Obviously contrived to charm; precious: » … Word Histories
cuteness — noun the quality of being appealing in a delicate or graceful way (of a girl or young woman) • Syn: ↑prettiness • Derivationally related forms: ↑cute, ↑pretty (for: ↑prettiness) • Hypernyms: ↑ … Useful english dictionary