People all over the world are throwing slices of American cheese at their babies, filming the babies’ reactions, and posting the videos online. Why are they doing so?
Babies wouldn’t really realise what this is about like us grown-ups. They will react outwardly to having cheese thrown at their faces. A handful of babies have become spectacular social media stars, thanks to this viral video campaign called the “cheese challenge.” Some babies laugh, some cry, and some are so stunned they stop moving altogether. Heather Brenhouse, an associate professor of psychology at the Northeastern University says, “The babies’ reactions are less about what just happened and more about the sensations they’re currently feeling: a cool, smooth, piece of cheese on their face.”
The higher-order cortical regions of their brains are the parts that make sense of the world around them in relation to past experience and these haven’t developed on the babies yet. This simply means that when a slice of cheese is lobbed at their faces, they’re not sure if it’s a normal or abnormal thing. They might react with surprise but won’t have any context to know whether or not this is a normal event.
It gets better every time I watch it pic.twitter.com/QPRN42x8Xo
— AC🦋 (@annaclairerusso) March 1, 2019
Our guardians teach us what to expect by showing us. So, as a baby, when your parent tosses a slice of cheese your way, an experience that might otherwise be uncomfortable is suddenly less so: These are the people taking care of me, so this must be fine. But, it is not fine.
Parents may be doing it for fun, however, in certain corners of the Internet, news of the cheese-throwing fad was received as a sign that we are heading toward societal collapse due to unethical challenges on social media.