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Cuteness in offspring is a protective mechanism that ensures survival for otherwise completely infants. Previous research has linked cuteness to early ethological ideas of a “kindchenschema” (infant schema) where infant facial features serve as “innate releasing mechanisms” for caregiving behaviours. We propose extending the concept of cuteness beyond visual features to positive infant sounds and smells. Evidence from behavioural and neuroimaging studies links this extended concept of cuteness to simple “instinctual” behaviours and to caregiving, protection and complex emotions. We review how cuteness key parental capacities by igniting fast privileged neural activity followed by slower processing in large brain networks also involved in play, empathy, and perhaps even higher-order moral emotions.