Friday, January 11, 2013

The pandas of our minds

Why do all those people keep staring at me?

We love “The Two-Way” post on NPR.org today, pondering the age-old question of why people find pandas so cute. “The Two-Way” reviews previous articles on the question, including a 2005 one by the Washington Post, and the findings of Emory psychologist Stephan Hamann that “cute” pictures cause increased activity in the brain’s middle orbital cortex:

“Some evidence,” the Post noted, “suggests the brain activity there is greater when the stimulus is ‘neotenous,’ which is to say it has juvenile characteristics – a button nose, big eyes, a large wobbly head, chubby extremities or pudgy cheeks.”

In other words, we’re programmed to be suckers for babies.

Read more on NPR.org.

Related:
Study gives clues to evolution of face recognition

Image: iStockphoto.com.

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