1. You’re admiring your precious baby when the urge washes over you… you want to bite them.
2. Not, like, a real bite. Just a nibble of a toe or a cheek.
3. Or maybe just squeeze their face a little.
4. Turns out you’re not a sick weirdo after all.
This phenomenon has a name, and apparently, a sociological purpose. Commonly known as cute aggression, “dimorphous expressions” can be a helpful tool in controlling our emotions, according to findings by psychological scientists at Yale University.
Lead researcher Oriana Aragon explained the phenomenon to BuzzFeed Life: “We regulate emotions in a lot of different ways. Sometimes we try to rethink the situation. Sometimes we try to push our emotions down with sheer will. Sometimes we remove ourselves from the situation that is causing the emotions. And with this new discovery, we are figuring out that sometimes we respond with the opposite expression from what we feel, and that seems to help to balance us back out too.”
So basically — you want to gnaw on that cute baby’s cute face because you literally can’t stand how cute it is, and the urge to bite is your brain’s weird way of handling the cuteness.
5. Like, literally.
Findings will be published in Psychological Science.