Nurturant love and caregiving emotions

Makenzie J. O'Neil, Alexander F. Danvers, Michelle N. Shiota

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Caregiving for one's offspring and young kin facilitates the evolutionary goal of successful reproduction. In this chapter we define an emotional state of nurturant love, elicited by cues of cuteness and helplessness, which activates a suite of physiological, cognitive, and behavioral changes facilitating caregiving toward the eliciting target. We review the literature pertaining to the elicitors and function of nurturant love, compare and contrast this emotion to other affective states that may promote caregiving, discuss empirical evidence regarding the properties and behavioral consequences of nurturant love, and conclude with potential future directions for research in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Function of Emotions
Subtitle of host publicationWhen and Why Emotions Help Us
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319776194
ISBN (Print)9783319776187
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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