The Chemistry of Cute Agression

Introduction

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Cute Aggression is the feeling one gets when they see a cute object and feel as if they want to squeeze the life out of it.  This feeling causes the expression, “It’s so cute, I just want to squeeze it to death!” I chose this topic because I’ve always been super curious as to why people, kids especially, hug animals and feel as if they need to squeeze the animal to the point it can not breathe, out of an outward release of happiness.  Cute aggression is very prominent in female children’s lives, including my own childhood. It use to be present when I was a kid up until my 2nd grade year. Because of my aggressive behavior my cats, at the time, hated me.

Composition of ...
  • The 4 main chemicals that create happiness:

    • Dopamine

      • C8H11NO2

    • Oxytocin

      • C43H66N12O12S2

    • Serotonin

      • C10H12N2O

    • Endorphins

      • C77H120N18O26S

  • The 5 main chemicals that create anger:

    • CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone)

      • C207H308N56O58S

    • ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)

      • C95H145N29O23S

    • Cortisol

      • C21H30O5

    • Adrenaline

      • C9H13NO3

    • Noradrenaline

      • C12H17NO9



Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components
  • C8H11NO2   or Dopamine:

    • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which helps transmit signals throughout the brain.  It is usually known for causing anticipation or addictions.

  • C43H66N12O12S2 or Oxytocin:

    • Oxytocin is a hormone in the brain, that acts as a neurotransmitter.  It is known for causing socialness, empathy, and it creates bonds with others.

  • C10H12N2O or Serotonin:

    • Serotonin is a chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body.  It is known for regulating mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep,and memory

  • C77H120N18O26S or Endorphins:

    • Endorphins are neurotransmitters that pass from one neuron to the next.  They are associated with the saying of , “fight or flight”, because they mask pain.

  • C207H308N56O58S  or CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone):

    • CRH is a natural hormone which causes the pituitary gland to create the hormone ACTH.

  • C95H145N29O23S or ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone):

    • The Adrenocorticotropic hormone is a hormone that starts the production of cortisol

  • C21H30O5  or Cortisol:

    • Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is made through a wide range of processes in the body.  Some of these processes include metabolism and the immune response.

  • C9H13NO3  or Adrenaline:

    • Adrenaline is a hormone and neurotransmitter.  Just like Endorphins, it plays an important part in the “fight or flight” response.

  • C12H17NO9  or Noradrenaline:

    • Noradrenaline or Norepinephrine is a natural chemical in the body and the brain that acts as a stress hormone and neurotransmitter.


Chemistry's Role

These 9 components are naturally made in different parts of the brain and get spread out through the body.  The first four hormones naturally combine to create happiness. The last five naturally combine to create anger step by step.

Dopamine  is created in many different places in the brain including the substantia nigra, which helps us move, and the ventral tegmental area, which releases dopamine when we expect a reward or are in a pleasurable situation.

 Oxytocin is created in the hypothalamus of your brain and creation depends on the electrical activity of neurons in the hypothalamus.  When these neurons are excited, oxytocin gets released into the bloodstream. Serotonin is created mostly in the enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract.  A small portion of serotonin is released in the brain in the neurons of the raphe nuclei. Endorphins are created in the central nervous system. They are released during laughter or the anticipation of laughter, which then causes the endorphins to spread throughout the body.

CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) is created in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus.  This hormone is created and released during stressful situations. ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) is created in the pituitary gland.  It gets created and released after the pituitary gland is struck by CRH. Cortisol is created in the adrenal glands. It is released in acute stress situations or in circumstances such as exercising or waking up.   Adrenaline is created and released from the adrenal glands. It is made and released after CRH and ACTH affect the adrenal glands. Noradrenaline is created in the adrenal glands. Noradrenaline is created and released after CRH and ACTH affect the adrenal glands.



Background Research

Cute Aggression is the feeling one gets when they witness something cute and that sight fills them with so much happiness and excitement, that they want to hurt the cute object.  This is caused because when people see the adorable items, they feel an aching to care and protect that object. But in the end, it is frustrating because they can’t. This is like if a person was in a situation where they have no power or choice to do anything, causing them to feel frustrated and worthless.

When it comes to what is in cute aggression, we must split it into two meanings: cute and aggression .  If we take the first part of the term: cute, happiness usually follows. Happiness is a hard emotion to explain, but in our brain the root of all happiness starts in the hippocampus.  This weird word is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. One of its main jobs is to house our memories. But the hippocampus doesn’t work alone. Its 4 business partner’s include dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.

 Dopamine can be described as the reward system and causes anticipation.  It is created in the ventral tegmental area, which releases dopamine when we are expecting a reward. The next one is oxytocin, which causes socialness, empathy, bonds between people, and the wanting to cuddle.  It is created in the hypothalamus and is released when the neuron energy is high. Another is serotonin, which determines if your mood is happy or sad. This is created in the raphe nuclei depending on the neurons.   Lastly is endorphins, which masks pain in certain situations causing people to say it’s the, “fight or flight” system. They are created in the central nervous system after the anticipation of laughter.

Aggression on the other hand can be put into a category with the emotion of anger.  Anger is caused by multiple things, which include: CRH or corticotropin releasing hormone, ACTH or adrenocorticotropic hormone, Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Noradrenaline.  The process of anger starts when a wave of emotion activates the amygdala. The wave continues down the line where is than activates the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases the hormone CRH which  activates the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland than releases the hormone ACTH, which activates the adrenal glands, that located on top of each kidney. Lastly the adrenal glands release stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

You may be wondering how these two things relate.  Cute Aggression is created as a way to get over your emotions.  While looking at a cute animal, we feel happiness overwhelm our brains and cause a feeling of anticipation and excitement.  As a way to cope with this feeling, our brains send out the opposite emotion so we may be able to heal faster. To sum it up, our brain is telling us to get on with our life.  An example of our brain following this process is laughing while crying or being extremely sad.

  

Resources

Pictures in Video



About the Author

Marissa Borden is a Junior at Billings Senior High School.  Her hobbies include learning, reading, writing, singing, and watching Teen Wolf.  In her future, she plans on becoming the next Marvel Superhero, moving to Antarctica with her cat to study penguins, and attending college to explore her interest in zoology.










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