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What is the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Chances are it involves a baby, a puppy or another adorable animal. And chances are it is forever imprinted on your mind. But what exactly is this powerful attractive force and how is it expressed in the brain?

Together with our colleagues Marc Bornstein from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Catherine Alexander from the University of Oxford, we have reviewed the existing research on the topic and discovered that cuteness is more than something purely visual. It works by involving all the senses and strongly attracting our attention by sparking rapid brain activity. In fact, cuteness may be one of the strongest forces that shape our behaviour – potentially making us more compassionate.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Morten L. Kringelbach, Alan Stein and Eloise Stark, Department of Psychiatry.

Oxford is a subscribing member of The Conversation. Find out how you can write for The Conversation.

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