So Cute You Can't Even! - The Science Of Cute Aggression Do you have a face so cute that people want to pinch your cheeks? Does the sight of a baby piglet snuggling up to a newborn baby make you want to kick down a door and run away screaming? Have you ever uttered the words, "You're so cute I could EAT YOU UP!?" Well then you may suffer from a scientific phenomenon known as "Cute Aggression." And in this episode, Mindy and Guy Raz take you through a recent scientific study that explores what causes it, and why? It's the latest Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Wow in the World of an overwhelming overload of CUTENESS!
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So Cute You Can't Even! - The Science Of Cute Aggression

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So Cute You Can't Even! - The Science Of Cute Aggression

So Cute You Can't Even! - The Science Of Cute Aggression

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/697087405/697093858" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MINDY THOMAS, HOST:

Hey, Reg.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Before we start the show, can you hand me that bullhorn over there?

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Thanks, buddy.

Attention, every single person in Florida.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: What? Too much?

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: I just wanted to let everyone in Florida know that I'm bringing the Wow in the World Pop Up Party to them.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: And I'm bringing The Pop Ups with me.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Yeah, they're the guys who sing the WOW IN THE WORLD theme song.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Anywho, it's going to be so much fun - live, interactive science experiments, games, skits, music, dancing. And did I mention science?

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: It's a whole variety show.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: This will be our first and only Florida show of the year, and it's all happening at the beautiful historic Tampa Theatre on Saturday, April 6.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Tickets can be found at tinkercast.com/events. That's tinkercast.com/events.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Oh. And Reg? One more thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: You think maybe you could fly me down there for it?

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Florida, we will be seeing you in Tampa on Saturday, April 6. Visit tinkercast.com/events for tickets and for more information on our upcoming Washington, D.C., show on March 24. WOW IN THE WORLD is getting out in the world this spring. See you there.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME SONG)")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Stay seated. Three, two, one, ignition.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Get ready for an adventure of magnificent proportion.

THE POP UPS: (Singing) I don't know what you've been told, but we're in a golden age - so many discoveries that are jumping off the page. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: With Guy and Mindy.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: We're on our way, Houston.

THOMAS: Oh, it's 4 o'clock. Time for me to sit back, relax, throw up my feet and watch "The Bruni Soto Show" (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) And we are back. Today on "The Bruni Soto Show," we're talking with victims of cuteness. People and animals who are too cute for their own safety. First up, we'd like to welcome 7-year-old Graham, who says he's so cute he can hardly walk down the street without a grandma threatening to eat him. Please give it up for Graham.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Now Graham, can you tell us what it's like to go through life in fear of your own cuteness?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Graham) Well, it started out when I was a baby. My mom would invite friends over, and then they would say, oh, he's so cute, I just want to pinch his cheeks. And then they actually did. When I was 7 months old, I had to learn how to run so I could get away from them.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience) Aw.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Graham) Stop it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) All right. All right. OK. Settle down, audience. Now, Graham, is it true that just last week you were so cute that a grandma tried to eat you?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Graham) Yes, it's true. Maybe it's my rosy cheeks. Maybe it's my freckles. Maybe it's my teeny nose. I don't know what it is. But whenever grandpas and grandmas come over, they just say, I just want to eat you up.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience, groaning).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Ugh (ph). Graham, did that really happen?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Graham) Yeah. This one grandma starting chasing me, screaming, you look like a porcelain doll.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Oh, no. Graham, have you ever actually been eaten by a grandma?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Graham) No. I keep my teddy bear with me for protection.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience) Aw.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) And the cute-ometer (ph) just broke, ladies and gentlemen.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Graham, I'm sorry to tell you that you are cute enough to eat. Coming up next, we'll hear from a baby hedgehog who is so cute that it makes people want to poke their own eyes out. But first, these messages.

(APPLAUSE)

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Oh. Oh, hey, Mindy. What are you watching in here?

THOMAS: Just my favorite daytime talk show, "The Bruni Soto Show."

RAZ: The what?

THOMAS: Today, she's featuring people and animals who are too cute for their own safety.

RAZ: I'm not sure that's a thing.

THOMAS: Oh, sure it is. Haven't you ever seen something so cute you just wanted to barf all over it?

RAZ: No, I can't say that I have.

THOMAS: Well, what about that one time that Reggie got a hold of the shrink wand and accidentally shrunk himself down to a tiny thumb-sized pigeon?

RAZ: Oh, yeah. That was pretty cute.

THOMAS: Pretty cute? You got so overwhelmed by his cuteness that you threatened to turn him into a keychain, Guy Raz.

RAZ: Well, I...

THOMAS: Hey, Jed. Can you cue the flashback?

JED ANDERSON, BYLINE: Sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

THOMAS: Reggie, no. That's my shrink wand.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

RAZ: Reggie, stop.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Oh, my wow. He's so adorable.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

RAZ: Reggie, you're so cute. I could just squeeze the guts out of you and then turn you into a keychain.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RAZ: Well, I guess I did get a little overwhelmed by the pocket-sized Reggie, but it's not like I was actually going to squeeze his guts out and turn him into a keychain, Mindy. I would never do anything to hurt him.

THOMAS: Of course you wouldn't, Guy Raz. I know that. You know that. Reggie knows that.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: But what you may not know is that in that moment, you were experiencing what scientists refer to as cute aggression.

RAZ: Cute aggression? Mindy, I'm not an aggressive person.

THOMAS: Guy Raz, cute aggression is what this behavioral scientist named Katherine Stavropoulos from the University of California, Riverside describes as the desire to squeeze, crush or bite cute things but without ever meaning to hurt or harm.

RAZ: Huh. So you're saying that there's actually a scientific explanation for this?

THOMAS: You know it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

THOMAS: Oh, we're back from commercial break.

RAZ: Wait. You were just about to give a scientific explanation.

THOMAS: Shh.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) And we are back. Joining us on "The Bruni Soto Show," we invite a baby hedgehog to share his story and his struggles with extreme cuteness. Helping to translate is his animal language interpreter.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As hedgehog, through interpreter) One day, I was on display at an elementary school. It was a meet-the-animals exhibit. A child came up to my habitat and shrieked, and I quote, "This hedgehog is so cute, I'm going to poke my own eyes out."

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) And did this child, in fact, poke his own eyes out?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As hedgehog, through interpreter) No, but it was a super-duper weird thing to say. And it's always happening. Like, look at its little paws. I just want to eat them right up. Nom-nom-nom-nom-nom (ph). Or, OMG, it just yawned. I think I'm going to die. Frankly, it's disturbing and a burden but a burden I must bear.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience) Aw.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Speaking of bears, coming up next, a teddy bear so cute you'll want to kick down a door and run away screaming.

(APPLAUSE)

THOMAS: Psh (ph), I do that every day.

RAZ: So, Mindy, you were just saying that there's actually a scientific explanation for cute aggression?

THOMAS: Oh, yeah. So like I said, this was all part of a research study done by this behavioral scientist from the University of California, Riverside named Katherine Stavropoulos. And professor Stavropoulos wanted to figure out what in the world is happening inside our brains when we experience something so cute, we can't even.

RAZ: Can't even what?

THOMAS: That's it. You just can't even.

RAZ: Oh.

THOMAS: You got it? It's like, oh, it's so cute, I can't even.

RAZ: Yeah. So does she have an idea of what might be happening inside the brain when we think something is so cute we want to pinch it or squeeze it or even eat it?

THOMAS: Well, she did have a little hunch - or hypothesis, rather.

RAZ: And just to be clear, a hypothesis is an educated idea or explanation that can be tested through study and experimentation.

THOMAS: Right. So her hypothesis was that maybe it could have something to do with the part of our brain that's in charge of rewards.

RAZ: Meaning, like, the part that gets activated when we experience pleasure or the feeling of wanting something.

THOMAS: Exactoritos (ph).

RAZ: So what did professor Stavropoulos do to find out if this hypothesis was correct?

THOMAS: Well, she decided to conduct an experiment.

RAZ: An experiment, like an investigation.

THOMAS: Yep. And so the first thing she did was gather 54 willing human participants and shoved them all into one tiny laboratory.

RAZ: I'm sorry. Shoved them into a tiny laboratory?

THOMAS: OK, that part I made up. They probably just invited them to, like, a medium-sized lab or something.

RAZ: Huh. And as far as these are human participants go, are we talking older humans, younger humans, males, females?

THOMAS: We're talking a trail mix of grown-ups between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. Twenty of them were men, and 34 of them were women. So total mixed bag.

RAZ: Human trail mix. Huh.

THOMAS: Yeah, remind me to patent that idea.

RAZ: And so what did she do with all these people?

THOMAS: Well, she had them all put on these strange, little, swim-cap-looking things called electro-caps, and then she hooked these caps up to her computer to measure the electrical signals - or zaps - between their neurons.

RAZ: And by neurons, you mean the teeny-tiny cells in our brains that send and receive and hold information.

THOMAS: You can say that again.

RAZ: And by neurons, you mean the teeny-tiny cells in our...

THOMAS: (Groaing).

RAZ: (Laughter) sorry.

THOMAS: Neurons are super important when it comes to helping the brain do its job, which is basically to control everything we say and do to stay alive.

RAZ: Got it.

THOMAS: And then she did something pretty unusual.

RAZ: What did she do?

THOMAS: So after getting them all hooked up to their special brain-signal-measuring equipment, she started to...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

THOMAS: Oh, it's back on. I'll tell you during the next commercial break.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: Shh.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Our next guest is a yoga instructor who came across a stuffed teddy bear so cute that, after one look, he kicked down the door of his yoga studio and ran away screaming. Please welcome Brad.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Now, Bradley, tell us what happened when you first laid eyes on this stuff-a-bear teddy.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As Bradley) Well, it was Valentine's Day. And someone had sent a valentine to one of our other instructors - a bouquet of red roses and a teddy, a teddy so small that it fit inside of a novelty coffee cup. It had an itsy-bitsy nose the size of a lentil and watery anime eyes that looked right into my soul. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) It's OK, Bradley.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As Bradley) It had a tiny T-shirt. It said, I heart you bear-y (ph) much.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience) Aw.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) You're safe now. Tell us what happened next.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As Bradley) I just couldn't handle it. I fell out of my inverted eagle pose, busted through the door of the studio and ran. I ran, and I screamed. I didn't come back for three months.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Well, Bradley, we have a surprise for you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As Bradley) For me?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Come on out, teddy.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As Bradley) I can't even. I can't even. Ah, look at it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Coming up next, a voice so cute that we have to disguise it. But first, a quick break.

THOMAS: Personally, I did not find that teddy bear all that cute.

RAZ: Huh.

THOMAS: What? It's not that cute. Now, a duckling and a baby fox who are best friends - now, that is cute.

(SOUNDBITE OF LULLABY)

THOMAS: Wait. What are we talking about? Where am I?

RAZ: You were just starting to tell me what professor Stavropoulos did after hooking everyone up to those electro-caps to measure the electric signals in their brains.

THOMAS: Yes, yes, yes. OK. So after getting them all hooked up to their special brain-signal-measuring equipment, she started to show them photos.

RAZ: Photos of what?

THOMAS: Photos of cute things - you know, like baby animals and less cute adult versions of these animals.

RAZ: Huh.

THOMAS: She also showed them photos of cute babies and then photos of cute babies that had been changed to make the babies look even cuter than cute.

RAZ: And then what?

THOMAS: Well, she asked the people a bunch of questions like, are you overwhelmed by how cute this baby animal is? Are you dying to take care of this cute, little baby? Does this picture make you want to barf from all the cuteness?

RAZ: She asked that?

THOMAS: Well, maybe not in those words exactly, but she wanted to get an idea of the level of cute aggression that the person felt when they looked at the pictures.

RAZ: And what did she discover?

THOMAS: Oh, hang on a sec. The show's back from commercial break.

RAZ: Mindy...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Welcome back to "The Bruni Soto Show." Our final guest has a place so cute that we've had to disguise it to protect them from the danger of being so cute. Please give it up for Peanut.

(APPLAUSE)

RAZ: That is a pretty cute name.

THOMAS: I know, right? Kind of makes me want to pie you in the face, Guy Raz.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Now, Peanut, tell us what it's like to live with the world's cutest voice coming out of your cute, little mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As Peanut) Well, one time I was performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a football game. And someone from the crowd shouted, I just want to squeeze the guts out of that cute, little voice and toss it over the 50-yard line.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience) Aww.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As Peanut) People think it's easy having the world's cutest voice. But really, some days, I wish I sounded like a gargoyle.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Oh, sweet and petite baby Peanut, we sympathize. We do. But I think I speak for everyone in this studio audience when I say we just want to hear your real voice. Right, audience?

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As Peanut) Are you sure? It's pretty cute.

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) Producers, go ahead and remove the voice changer. Peanut, we'd like you to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" for us.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Peanut) OK. Here goes. (Singing) Oh, say can you see...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As audience) Aww.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character) It's so cute.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #7: (As character) Let's throw chairs.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Bruni Soto) And that's all the time we have for today's program. Tomorrow on the "Bruni Soto Show," we'll meet a dog who is a professional human catcher.

THOMAS: Wow. I did not see that coming.

RAZ: OK. Back to what professor Stavropoulos discovered after showing the people these pictures of cute babies and animals.

THOMAS: Oh, right. So turns out that when she looked at the results of the electro swim cap situation, she discovered that her original hunch - or hypothesis - was right on.

RAZ: Wow.

THOMAS: When she looked at the results of this experiment, she noticed that whenever the people showed signs of being overwhelmed with cute aggression, the parts of their brains that had to do with the reward system lit up like a disco ball.

RAZ: That's incredible.

THOMAS: But that's not all.

RAZ: There's more?

THOMAS: Guy Raz, not only did the reward part of their brains light up, but so did the part that deals with the emotion system in the brain.

RAZ: So the part of our brain that deals with our emotions.

THOMAS: You got it.

RAZ: But why?

THOMAS: Why?

RAZ: Yeah. Why is it that when we see something cute, we have the sudden urge to pinch it or squeeze it or pet it or scream or bust through a door?

THOMAS: Well, Guy Raz, professor Stavropoulos still doesn't quite know for sure. But she suspects that maybe over time, cuteness aggression in humans is something that's evolved in us as a way to help keep us from completely falling apart whenever we're overcome with something that's too cute to handle.

RAZ: Huh. So it's almost like the negative emotions, like wanting to smush something that's really cute, kind of helps to balance out the positive feelings before they get out of control and you can't move. It's almost like trying to balance a scale in your head.

THOMAS: Exactly. So here's basically how it works.

RAZ: OK.

THOMAS: First, you see an overwhelmingly cute baby.

RAZ: And then the reward system in our brain goes berserk. And you feel like you can't handle its cuteness.

THOMAS: And at that point, your aggressive emotions kick in and balance you out before you completely go off the rails and that scale in your head topples over to one side.

RAZ: And I suppose that by balancing the reward part of your brain with the emotion part of your brain, you find your brain in better condition to care for that baby.

THOMAS: Exactoritos, Guy Raz. Pretty wow, huh?

RAZ: Yeah. You know, Mindy, this reminds me of something. There've been lots of studies over the past 75 or so years where scientists set out to find out once and for all what makes something or someone cute.

THOMAS: Like a checklist to see if something is cute or not?

RAZ: Well, yeah, sort of. In fact, one Austrian biologist named Konrad Lorenz - he came up with something called kinderschema, which is just a fancy word to describe the features or the details that we humans find adorable and cute.

THOMAS: Oh, yeah? So what were they?

RAZ: Well, for starters, a large, round head, especially compared to the size of the body.

THOMAS: Hey. My head's about the same size as a basketball.

RAZ: Number two would be a large forehead.

THOMAS: Check. Sometimes, Guy Raz, when I'm pinched for cash, I use my forehead as a billboard and sell ad space.

RAZ: You what?

THOMAS: Next on the list?

RAZ: Well, the next thing would be really big eyes and kind of set low on the face. Wait.

THOMAS: Wait. My eyes are big. And they always look like they're sliding down my face.

RAZ: OK. Well, the next one would be these rounded, big cheeks.

THOMAS: Butt or face?

RAZ: Face, Mindy.

THOMAS: Check.

RAZ: And then a round body shape.

THOMAS: I do tend to roll whenever I fall down the stairs.

RAZ: And finally a really soft and kind of elastic body.

THOMAS: I don't know what that means, but I can do this.

RAZ: OK, Mindy, stop.

THOMAS: Are you feeling it, Guy Raz?

RAZ: Feeling what?

THOMAS: The cuteness aggression takeover. Guy Raz, I checked off every box on the old cute list?

RAZ: Oh.

THOMAS: Are you feeling like you just can't handle it? Do I make you want to growl and barf from all the cuteness?

RAZ: No.

THOMAS: Well, that's cool. Katherine Stavropoulos also discovered that not everyone experiences cute aggression. It's perfectly normal to not want to freak out and punch something when you're overcome by its cuteness.

RAZ: Mindy, I think this list applies more to human babies and young animals than it does to grown humans like you or me.

THOMAS: Wait.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: I just hatched an idea.

RAZ: Oh, no.

THOMAS: We're going to try a cute, little scientific experiment of Our Own, Guy Raz.

RAZ: I'm listening.

THOMAS: Now close your eyes and don't go anywhere. I've got to go grab something. Be right back. Run, run, run, run, run. Found it. Run, run, run, run. I'm back.

RAZ: What in the...

THOMAS: Put this on.

RAZ: A panda suit?

THOMAS: No, not the whole suit, just the body.

RAZ: Anything for science.

THOMAS: Now stay still, so I can attach this fuzzy bunny tail...

RAZ: Ouch.

THOMAS: ...And these puppy paws...

RAZ: Why are they so sweaty inside, Mindy?

THOMAS: ...And this kitten head...

RAZ: Well, don't forget the whiskers.

THOMAS: ...And, last but not least, the baby diaper.

RAZ: The what?

THOMAS: Now turn around and take a look in that full-length mirror.

RAZ: Mindy, this is ridicu - I hardly recognize myself. I'm just so cute.

THOMAS: But we're going to have to do something about your voice and your size. Oh, I know. Hey, Reg.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Can you hand me that shrink wand?

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Thanks, buddy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: Alakabooky (ph), sooky no snaz (ph), use this shrink wand to shrink Guy Raz. Shrink wand activate.

RAZ: Mindy, Mindy, no.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

THOMAS: I know, Reg. He's so cute, I could just toss him into a bowl of cereal and eat him with a spatula.

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice) Mindy, what have you done to me?

THOMAS: It's an experiment to see if I can turn you into the most aggressively cute human animal that ever existed, Guy Raz.

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice, groaning).

THOMAS: Anything for science?

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice) Anything for science.

THOMAS: Now let's take you outside and see how the world reacts to your cuteness. Come on. Hop into this little basket.

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice) Mindy, you're not going to parade me around the neighborhood looking like this, are you?

THOMAS: Now let me just open the front door to the world. Hi-ya.

(SOUNDBITE OF CRASH)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As Dennis) Hi, Mindy. How's it - (gasping) is that the elusive miniature panda puppy bunny butt kitty face?

THOMAS: Pretty cute, huh, Dennis?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As Dennis) It's so adorable, I might die. Ah ha ha ha, I'm just kidding. I won't die.

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice) Dennis, it's me, Guy Raz.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As Dennis) Nice try. That's exactly what a panda puppy bunny butt kitty face would want me to think. It's so cute, it makes me want to rub sand in my eyes.

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice) Mindy, look what you've done.

THOMAS: I can't believe it. My experiment worked - cuteness aggression in action.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As Dennis) Mindy, let's take pictures of it. We can sell cute, little calendars and make millions. I'll come over. Just hold still while I climb this fence. I'm not very athletic, so this might take a minute.

RAZ: (In high-pitched voice) Run, run, run, run, run.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As Dennis) Where are you going? Stay there.

THOMAS: Wait. Guy Razzy, you can't run away. You're too tiny. Someone will step on you. I'll save you, little buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: WOW IN THE WORLD will be right back. Grown-ups, this message is for you.

That's it. Back to the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME SONG)")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIALING PHONE)

THOMAS: Hi. Thanks for calling WOW IN THE WORLD. After the beep, get ready to record.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

RASHEEN: Hi. My name is Rasheen (ph). I live in Jersey City, N.J. My wow in the world is that dolphins can jump out of water 15 feet. If trained, they can jump 15 to 30 feet.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

NATE: Hi. My name is Nate (ph).

ANDREW: My name is Andrew (ph).

NATE AND ANDREW: And we live in Houston, Texas. Our wow in the world is that vampire stories were first created to explain sickness and death. Goodbye. Love your show.

ANDREW: Hi, Reggie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

FINN: I am Finn (ph), and I'm from Annapolis, Md. My wow in the world is that there are types of particles that make up protons and neutrons inside an atom. The particles have very odd names, including top, bottom, up, down, charm and strange. Love your show. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

JONATHAN: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Jonathan (ph). I live in Newcastle. And my wow in the world is that the Saturn V was the biggest rocket made by man. Say hi to Reggie for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

EDEN: Hello. Hello. I'm Eden (ph). I'm from Surrey, British Columbia. My wow in the world is that giraffes poop on their feet.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

JUNE: Hi, Guy Raz. Hi, Mindy. Hi, Reggie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

JUNE: My name is June (ph), and I live in Altadena, Calif. My wow in the world is wood frogs in Alaska freeze over up to seven months. Their hearts stop beating, and they stop breathing. They look pretty much dead. They thaw out in the spring and come back to life. Bye, Guy Raz. Bye, Mindy. Bye, Reggie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

XAVIER: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Xavier (ph), and I live in D.C. My wow is that more than 270 million people visit America's national parks each year.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

GRAHAM: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Graham (ph).

ELI: And my name is Eli (ph). We live in Kirkland (ph), Wash. And our wow in the world is that the world's largest eagle's nest was 114 inches wide, which is longer than both of us together laying down. Hi, Reggie. (Imitating bird).

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

GRAHAM: (Imitating bird).

(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD COOING)

GRAHAM: We love your show, Mindy and Guy Raz.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: End of messages.

THOMAS: Hey, everyone. Thank you so much for hanging out with us this week on WOW IN THE WORLD.

RAZ: And to keep the wow rolling, check out this week's scientific conversation starters at our website wowintheworld.com.

THOMAS: And grown-ups, there you can find more info on how your kids can become members of the World Organization of Wowzers, shop our Wow shop, upload photos and videos to us and check dates for our upcoming live events. That's wowintheworld.com.

RAZ: Our show is produced by Jed Anderson.

THOMAS: Who provides the bells, whistles and silly characters. Say hello, Jed.

ANDERSON: Yello.

THOMAS: Our show is written by me, Guy Raz and Thomas van Kalken, who also provides silly characters. Tom?

THOMAS VAN KALKEN, BYLINE: Hello there.

THOMAS: And big shout out to Bruni Herring (ph) and our buddy Bram (ph) for lending their voices to this episode.

RAZ: Thanks also to Jessica Boddy, Casey Koeffer (ph), Rebecca Caban (ph), Kit Ballenger (ph) and Alex Curley. Meredith Halpern-Ranzer powers the wow at Tinkercast.

THOMAS: Our theme song was composed and performed by The Pop Ups. For more info on their two-time-Grammy-nominated, all-ages music, find them at the thepopups.com.

RAZ: And grown-ups, you can follow WOW IN THE WORLD on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @wowintheworld. And our email address is hello@wowintheworld.com.

THOMAS: And if you're a kid with a big wow to share with us, call us at 1-888-7-WOW-WOW for a chance to be featured at the end of the show.

RAZ: Also, if you haven't already done so, please subscribe to WOW IN THE WORLD on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

THOMAS: Yeah. Leave us a few stars, a review or just tell a friend about the show.

RAZ: Thanks again for listening, and until next time....

GUY RAZ AND MINDY THOMAS: Keep on wowing.

THOMAS: Jinx.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE (WOW IN THE WORLD PODCAST THEME SONG)")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: WOW IN THE WORLD was made by Tinkercast and sent to you by NPR.

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