Almost all people like to squeeze and hug closely cute things. Not only stuffed animals, but pets, even other humans that we are attracted to. We don’t even realize this urge, but we love it. So the researchers over at Yale University decided to find out why and set up several experiments. They used bubble wrap as a measurement and found out that people popped more of the bubble wrap when exposed to cute stimuli like photos, animals and so on.
Hugging closely and squeezing is not an unconscious way to try to overpower someone who is more vulnerable. The scientists describe the reasons in the journal Psychological Science. They say the feeling is called dimorphous expression. It is a natural way of balancing overwhelming emotions by combining the urge to express love with slight aggression. You have probably noticed that when you hug and squeeze a child or an animal, usually they get angry. It is because they feel threatened by the force of the hug. Happily the stuffed animals don’t seem to mind the tight hugs.
What’s more, bystanders often see this hugging like a superficial way to act. The researchers though say it is actually a pretty healthy way to regulate emotions. Another way is to cry when you are happy. These are good ways to balance overwhelming emotions and make a person feel better and more confident about their own emotional state, the researchers claim. All of this means that onlookers may think you are crazy, but in fact you may be better emotionally than them. So keep hugging your stuffed animals and be happy!