Viewing Cute Images Increases Behavioral Carefulness

Topics: Super Size Me, Case-control study, Experimental design Pages: 5 (1378 words) Published: May 17, 2012
Sercan İşcan - Tourism Management – 10020003017

Sherman, G. D., Haidt, J., & Coan, J. A. (2009). Viewing cute images increases behavioral carefulness. Emotion, 9, 282-286. doi:10.1037/a0014904

This article examined how the perception of cuteness influences behavioral carefulness, enhancing people’s ability to care for infants. While researchers took physiological measures of heart activity and skin conductance, they exposed participants to a slide show of pictures of either i) infant animals (kittens and puppies) previously judged as very cute, or ii) adult animals (cats and dogs) judged to be less cute. Both before and after the slideshow, participants played the game “Operation” that required them to use tweezers to remove plastic body parts without touching the sides of the compartments. The game served as an assessment of behavioral carefulness. Participants exposed to cute infant animals displayed greater improvements in fine-motor control from before to after the slide show. Lack of consistent changes in physiological measures ruled out general physiological arousal as an explanation. Results indicated that cuteness not only motivates people to nurture, but also enhances their ability to do so.

1. What are the Independent Variable; Dependent Variable and their operational (measurable) definitions here? 2. What are the potential confounding variables in this experiment? 3. What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the above study design? 4. How strong is the external validity of this research design? (While answering this question think about these: How effectively does the manipulation of cuteness used in the study relate to infant care? Does a participant’s performance in the game “Operation” really transfer to nurturing? Why or why not?) 5. One element in this design was a pretest and posttest measure. What are the advantages of using this type of design? Was it necessary? 6. Can you find other ways to manipulate “cuteness” and measure “carefulness” in this experiment? What can you suggest?


1- In experiments, the Independent variable is the variable that is controlled and manipulated by the experimenter; whereas the Dependent is not manipulated, instead the DV is observed or measured for variation as a presumed result of the variation in the IV. That being said;

DV: Whether cuteness influence behavioral carefulness and enhance people’s ability to care more for infants than grown up’s.

IV: How participant’s motor-controls improve when they got exposed by baby (and cute) animal pictures in a good way.

2- Confounding variables are variables with a significant effect on the dependent variable that the researcher failed to control or eliminate - sometimes because the researcher is not aware of the effect of the confounding variable. The key is to identify possible external distractions and somehow try to eliminate or control them. Thus, this research seems like conducted in a laboratory (or somewhere isolated like an indoor kind of place) and other possible external distractions may eliminated from participants. But, since this research interested in human psychology especially in terms of ‘’motivation’’ there are greater confounding variables that may occur. For example; *Particular participant may not like animals at all regardless shown pictures are baby or not. Therefore, participant’s behaviors could become immune to the game called ‘’operation’’. *Some participants could get excited while playing ‘’operation’’ and/or they can do some mistakes. *Participant’s daily mood toward pets can’t be measured at only one time. Experiment should be repeated by researchers after a while to measure its consistency. Finally; constant monitoring to participants before and after the test could reduce other unwanted variables. 3- This is a well-designed research with a little bit weaknesses in it. The only apparent flaw is a ‘’external validity of time’’. Again; this...
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