Why Are Ugly Cartoon Characters So Popular? (A Study)


We live in a world where anything can go viral and become a viral meme.

Are ugly cartoon characters so popular for kids? According to a study, cartoons with big eyes and exaggerated features draw attention to the fact that they’re cute, while small, simple shapes attract kids’ attention for the simple reason that they’re appealing.

The research question is, “Why are Ugly cartoon characters so popular?”

If you think that cartoons have no real depth, you are wrong. Research shows that children, adults, and even animals respond emotionally to animated characters and tend to empathize more with them. This is why cartoon characters are so popular among adults; it gives them a chance to relate to someone with less serious intentions than themselves.

The Ugly cartoon characters found in most kids’ cartoons tend to look much less scary than their real counterparts. One reason why cartoons tend to be more popular than realistic illustrations is because of our need for emotional connection. Read More

1. Why Do Kids Like Ugly Cartoon Characters?

In the 1970s, scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study to see whether children preferred characters with exaggerated features or those with regular features. They found that children preferred characters with exaggerated features. They theorized that since cartoon characters were already a bit exaggerated, this allowed the children to “recognize” them more easily and feel more comfortable around them. It makes sense. If you’re looking for a new friend, why would you choose someone with regular features over someone who’s more familiar?

Psychological effect

We all know that kids love cartoons. But why do kids love those characters that are considered ugly? According to psychologists, children like ugly cartoon characters because the presence of a cartoon character makes them feel safe. A study conducted by the University of Arizona found that children who played with ugly, cartoon-like toys were more likely to show aggressive behaviors towards peers. Researchers claim that the presence of a cartoon character may help children become more comfortable with themselves.

2. Why Do Kids Prefer the “Ugly” Cartoon Characters?

There are a lot of reasons why kids love cartoons. They are entertaining, they teach valuable life lessons, and they help kids learn about the world around them. However, there’s one type of cartoon character that’s especially important in a child’s development, but one that many kids don’t always enjoy: the ugly cartoon character.

3. Why Do Parents Prefer the “Ugly” Cartoon Characters?

Why do parents prefer ugly cartoon characters over cute ones? According to research, children associate negative emotions (such as sadness, disgust, fear, anger, etc.) with adults, especially parents. In contrast, children view babies and other positive images as being associated with happy emotions. This preference is also tied to the social-emotional development of children.

According to Researchers

Research suggests that parents prefer the ugly characters because they tend to be more active and engaged with their children and are therefore more memorable. The study found that parents of young children prefer the more “unattractive” characters and those that are more active and engaging.

4. Conclusion: “Ugly” Cartoon Characters Have Long Lasting Effects

To find out why kids enjoy cartoon characters like Spongebob Squarepants and the Power Rangers, psychologists at Columbia University conducted three experiments. They used a questionnaire to ask children how often they enjoyed watching cartoon movies and how often they liked watching specific characters from those movies. Then, they presented the children with a series of images of popular cartoon characters and asked them which ones they liked. Finally, they showed them the same images of the characters with either the original colors or with new, more cartoonish coloring. The researchers found that children liked characters that were both very different from them and also more appealing. This study demonstrates that liking is a matter of difference and appeal, rather than similarity.


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