As the internet clearly shows, people think that cats are way funnier than dogs. But not if you are a baby. The evidence is in and, apart from the occasional fan of goats, babies think dogs are hilarious. Our latest video of baby Lukas adds to the data
Naturally, as a scientist, I’d like more data. If you have a video of your baby laughing at a cat (or a dog), please send it in. I already have a theory why this might be. In short, adults are laughing at cats while babies are laughing with dogs. Adults find pictures of cats doing silly things so amusing because cats are typically quite serious and aloof. It’s incongruous and therefore humorous. In contrast dogs crave attention and will put up with all manner of silliness to get it.
To adults, dogs are too eager to please. But for babies the opposite is true. They are a bit too young to realise that cats don’t like wearing hats or pleasing humans. For them, the clownish antics of dogs are hilarious and the fact that dogs are eager to please is pleasing.
Laughter has two major components, the humorous and the social. 50,000 years of selective breeding has made dogs eager to please. It’s not clear what character traits domestic cats were selected for (purring and killing maybe). In any event, when we are little we enjoying sharing in the silly but social antics of dogs, as we get older we laugh when these characteristics are artficially imposed on cats. Finally, perhaps we ought to ask, what do dogs think of babies? It can go either way.
- Your Babies #003 – Dog tries to teach baby how to play fetch.
- Laugh… wait… Laugh… wait…. Laugh…
- Your Babies #010: Evan falling about with laughter, Toddy less impressed.
- Tiddles tickles tootsies
- Your Babies #015: Which is the funniest animal?
— Thanks to Lukas and his family for this video