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It is inevitable to observe Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda in the series “The Mandalorian”, And not feel immediate tenderness. The senses connect with its fragile appearance, in the frontal lobe of our brain there are reactions that make us want to hug it through the screen. A sensation that could well be replicated now that the character debuted as a balloon in the iconic Macy’s fashion show in New York, United States. Why do we love this little guy so much? And not only him, but other creatures with similar characteristics, fictitious or not. We spoke with specialists about why this phenomenon occurs. But first, some context.

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Who is Baby Yoda?

The little being, who is part of the same species as Master Yoda, appears in the Star Wars fiction “The Mandalorian”; series located after Episode VI (“Return of the Jedi) and before episode VII (” The Force Awakens “). In this Disney + series the little character is under the protection of the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), a hunter of rewards.

The first scene in which “baby Yoda” appears, right at the end of the first episode, shows him as a small being with big eyes, a round head, protruding ears and, above all, very vulnerable. The Mandalorian finds him and, instead of killing him as his robot companion wanted, they both stare at each other in a scene that soon went viral.

The psychological aspect

In an interview with El Comercio Rocío Carranza, psychologist and systemic coach, says that there are expressions and traits that generate warmth. The image described in the previous paragraph is undoubtedly one of them. “The frontal lobe is in charge of our sensitivity, emotions and feelings. It is thanks to him that we can feel empathy for the little beings of our species or others”, he says.

Likewise, it indicates that features such as a round face, protruding ears and chubby cheeks are also associated with babies; little ones that usually generate empathy. “By showing themselves as fragile and vulnerable beings, they make us worry about them”He adds.

Along the same lines, the gestal psychologist and psychotherapist Carolina Martinez explains that Baby Yoda has characteristics appropriate to any mammalian being in its first weeks. “When mammals are in the baby or puppy stage they have a small mouth, a small nose; the features are enlarged over time. No matter the species, they will all have these characteristics”He comments.

For her part, Claudia Tassara, psychotherapist and neuro-educator, says that this empathy that we can feel for any puppy or baby, be it flesh and blood or animation, is also due to the so-called “mirror neurons” located in Broca’s area (sector of the brain associated with language). They are a type of neurons that are activated when we feel tenderness, in addition to helping us to interpret other people; holds.

For Tassara, the case of “baby Yoda” not only generates empathy for how the character looks, but for what he reminds us of.

According to biology

Several scientific articles point to the Austrian zoologist and ethologist Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989), who studied the evolutionary and adaptive importance of human behaviors, as the first to find a relationship between infantile characteristics and the protective instinct.

Along these lines, the Peruvian biologist and biodiversity expert Yuri Hooker told El Comercio that empathy with babies, whatever their species, is related to “the primordial instinct of life, which is what allows us to protect our offspring”.

Yuri Hooker: “One of the most important reasons for the survival of the species, of all, is to reproduce, transfer the genetic inheritance, that the species continues to exist. That is why the most powerful instinct that exists in living organisms, after feeding, is sex, reproducing and, therefore, protecting the offspring, the offspring, the puppies ”.

In the case of humans, we must not forget that we are mammalian animals with the ability to produce very few offspring, for that reason, says Hooker: “Care goes far beyond just birth, as newborns will need a long period of breastfeeding and care while they learn to fend for themselves. Sure, we all love our young, take care of them and protect them with our lives”.

Hooker mentions that the physical characteristics of young, especially mammals, make us feel innate empathy with them. “As humans, a species that is capable of producing its own food, compassion for the offspring of other species is quite great and we tend to feel tenderness for puppies and chicks.”He adds.

To this is added the finding of the psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Oxford Morten Kringelbach, who in 2006 showed that the brain enters a specific activity, it “turns on”, for a seventh of a second in front of images of babies. “Babies attract us through all of our senses, which helps make tenderness one of the most basic and powerful forces that shape our behavior.”, He told in the magazine Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

The study also shows that tenderness towards babies affects both men and women, even those without children. Perhaps for this reason, even if you have not had children or plan to have them, you have still been delighted with this little thing:

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Data

  • “The Mandalorian” will not premiere its third season this 2021, but instead will arrive another series of “Star Wars”, “The Book of Boba Fett”, on December 29 by Disney +.

Clarification: A version of this article was originally published on December 2, 2019. We republished it on the subject of the 2021 Macy’s parade.

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