Everyone loves babies. We’re programmed to. It’s biological: A 2008 research study at Baylor showed that the happiness centers in our brains light up when we see a baby smiling at us.
Conversely, a 2012 study at Aarhus University showed that a baby’s cry elicits a unique, lightning-fast response in his parents to soothe the baby. We want that crying to stop. We’re wired that way.
So, it’s puzzling why there seems to be a surge of entertainment centered on crying children, particularly infants. The quiver of the lip, the shaking of the chin, the miniature pout, the glistening tears. Apparently, it’s quite adorable.
And as the child grows and those crying sessions become tantrums, these big reactions can seem downright hilarious to a lot of people. “You’re having a fit about what?!”
Making sport of crying babies – from Parenting.com’s “They’re mad, they’re sad, they’re so darn cute!” crying baby pictures to YouTube’s swarms of “cute baby crying” videos to talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s challenge to parents to feign eating all their child’s Halloween candy to Japan’s crying babies festival (what!?) – seems to be taking this fixation with baby cuteness one step too far.