Science Identifies The Causes Of "Baby Fever"

Apparently "baby fever" isn't just something Jennifer Aniston comes down with every time there's a particularly slow week for gossip. Researchers say that the condition definitely exists, and it's been known to infect both women and men.

Gary and Sandra Brase, a husband and wife team of researchers from Kansas State University have been studying the phenomenon for 10 years, ever since Sandra gave birth to their second child and suddenly started yearning for another baby. Now they've published a study in the journal Emotion that explores what makes people want to have a child.

The Brases considered several possible factors, including the desire to nurture and societal pressure to have a baby. Subjects were asked to rank their urge to have a baby along with other desires for things like money, sex, and fame. The found that both genders were interested in having a screaming tot to call their own, but women dreamed of having a child more often. Somehow, we doubt the finding that women experienced the urge to have a baby more frequently than the urge to have sex. The information released doesn't give details on how the research was conducted, but we can only imagine this being true if the survey was conducted in a Babies "R" Us.

That would fit with the study's other finding that our desire to reproduce is linked to our exposure to babies. Unsurprisingly, those who've mostly been around babies who don't cry that much and wear adorable outfits would like to procure a child of their own. On the other hand, people regularly exposed to relative's horribly behaved children lose interest in babies. Those who see both the positives and negatives of parenting — say an episode of Teen Mom that shows how hard it is to be a parent but closes on shots of cute babies — will be totally conflicted about whether or not to have a kid.

"Having children is kind of the reason we exist — to reproduce and pass our genes on to the next generation," says Gary Brase. "But economically, having children is expensive and you don't get any decent financial return on this investment. And yet, here we are, actual people kind of stuck in the middle."

Ga Ga For Goo Goo: Research Explores The Scientific Basis For Baby Fever [ScienceDaily]

Image via Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock.