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What is cute?

TOK Presentation

Hannah Osswald

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of What is cute?

What is cute?
Claire Langenderfer, Brendan O'Hearn, Hannah Osswald
Little Kids Perspective
Scientific Perspective
While the textbook definition is correct, it is open-ended and rightly so
While cuteness can be defined, qualities each individuals sees as 'cute' can be influenced
Definition: containing childlike and innocent qualities
Recognizing something as 'cute' is innate
According to psychology, a biological basis for 'cute' exists
When people see a cute thing, such as a baby, a region in the brain associated with emotional responses is activated (possibly the Limbic System)
Children have not had much exposure to outside influences on their perception of 'cute'
Therefore, a child's perception of cute is innate
Like the video explained, the cuter something is, the more similar it looks to our own offspring
If something is cute, it has a smaller ratio between body and head size, and has more curved features
If our children did not look this way, we would not say that these characteristics are 'cute'
This is nature's way of getting us to take care of our own offspring
This guy!
But why?
First, let's define cute.
What is 'cute' ?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 'cute' is "attractive or pretty especially in a childish, youthful, or delicate way"
Often, a definition of 'cute' is derived from emotional knowledge and sense perception
Also, modern psychology has shown an innate recognition of something as 'cute'
This guy has more to say on the matter
The problem here is that this is only one perspective of what 'cute' is
A variety of factors play into what a person defines as 'cute'
A definition of 'cute', and what is 'cute' depends on external influences and perspective
These influences change a person's emotional knowledge, and consequently their emotional response
Let's look at the different perspectives first
What is cute?
Now that ...let's look at we have seen the different different influences. perspectives...
AOK: Human Sciences - Psychology
WOK: Emotion and Sense Perception
Our Perspective
Cultural Influence
Researchers Cho, Gonzalez, and Yoon performed a cross-cultural experiment on the perception of 'cute'
From a list of cars and clocks, participants chose which ones they found 'cute'
Often, these were the ones that were round and small
Other participants chose radically different choices for cute
This showed that not all cultures view 'cute' in the same way
However, some perceptions of 'cute' are cross-cultural
Gender Influence
It is often assumed that men and women have different perceptions of what cute is - therefore, gender influences a person's definition of cute
Male Perspective:
Men prefer to be admired, not adored
To men, cute implies weakness
Female Perspective:
Women tend to find things cuter than men do
This has been linked to biology
Research has shown that women find things to be cuter because of hormones present in the body before menopause
From this, it can be seen that gender influences one's perception of cute
Age Influence
A person's age can have an influence on what they think is cute
Age can be interrelated to gender
From one study, it was found that young women from 19 to 26 years old were more sensitive to nuances of cuteness than either young or older men.
Women between ages 45 and 51 were just like the younger women in their sensitivity
Women 53 to 60 were equal to men
The dividing line is around the time of menopause for women
(Sprengelmeyer, 2009)
Age Influence
Full transcript