KSU Logo We often see young married couples instantly getting attracted to small babies they spot. Also, they seem to love baby accessories and clothes. What does this indicate? A study conducted by Kansas State University professors, has revealed that this phenomenon constituting physical and emotional yearning for a baby is apparently known as baby fever.

It is supposedly present in men as well as women. The scientists have presented three seemingly valid points providing an explanation for baby fever.

“Baby fever is this idea out in popular media that at some point in their lives, people get this sudden change in their desire to have children. While it is often portrayed in women, we noticed it in men, too,” commented Gary Brase, associate professor of psychology, K-State’s College of Education.

The first aspect was the sociocultural view that comprises gender roles. As per societal norms, women are supposed to have a baby. The byproduct view involves people looking at cute babies that give them a desire to have one for themselves. Thirdly, the adaptationist view is a kind of emotional signal sent to the brain that this could be the right time to have a baby. The professors then conducted an analysis that examined people’s craving for a baby which focused on judgment and decision making. It came to light that women seemingly experienced frequent urge to have a baby than sex, while men on the contrary, apparently preferred sex more than having a child. Gary Brase felt that this is ironic as having a baby and sex are interrelated. Furthermore, they asked married couples what made them feel like wanting a baby and vice-versa. A survey was held that gauged their beliefs towards kids and fertility. Even college students were made to fill questionnaires and there were online tests too. After the study three main influential factors were unmasked.

Firstly, positive exposure like cuddling babies and catching sight of baby clothes or toys. Secondly, negative exposure like babies crying incessantly, throwing tantrums, releasing excessive spit, changing of diapers and other such unclean aspects of babyhood. Thirdly, trade-offs that usually arise along with having children related to education, career, financial matters and social circle. The results showed that while some people saw the positive aspects and appeared to want a baby, some of them considered the negative aspects and did not seem to want a baby. Some of them seemingly liked the positive as well as the negative points of having a baby. Gary Brase puts it that the main purpose of our existence ought to be passing on our genes to the next generation. It does come with financial obligations and most of the participants look like fence-sitters. The analysts have plans of comprehending the reason for low or high baby fever hereafter.

The findings are published in the journal Emotion.