Joshua Paul Dale

Feb 10, 2024

Irresistible

How Cuteness Wired our Brains and Conquered the World

Profile Books 2023

Why are some things cute, and others not? What happens to our brains when we see something cute? And how did cuteness go global, from Hello Kitty to Disney characters?

Cuteness is an area where culture and biology get tangled up. Seeing a cute animal triggers some of the most powerful psychological instincts we have - the ones that elicit our care and protection - but there is a deeper story behind the broad appeal of Japanese cats and saccharine greetings cards.

In Irresistible: How Cuteness Wired our Brains and Conquered the World (Profile Books, 2023) Dr. Joshua Paul Dale, a pioneer in the burgeoning field of cuteness studies, explains how the cute aesthetic spread around the globe, from pop brands to Lolita fashion, kids' cartoons and the unstoppable rise of Hello Kitty. Irresistible delves into the surprisingly ancient origins of Japan's kawaii culture, and uncovers the cross-cultural pollination of the globalised world. Understanding the psychology of cuteness can help answer some of the biggest questions in evolutionary history and the mysterious origins of animal domestication.

This is the fascinating cultural history of cuteness, and a revealing look at how our most powerful psychological impulses have remade global style and culture.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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