Looking at pictures of baby animals can improve concentration and productivity
Office workers take note: you no longer need to minimize that live-streaming kitten cam on your desktop whenever the boss walks by.
If anything, you should show it off proudly. According to Japanese researchers, you’re not slacking off by looking at adorable imagery – you’re simply improving your performance.
“”The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus”” is the name of a study published last week in the open access journal PloS ONE.
Conducted at Japan’s Hiroshima University in 2009, the results of the study published this week show that looking at photos of very young animals might actually boost a person’s concentration and productivity at work due to “”the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.””
Researchers performed a series of three experiments with 102 subjects split into smaller groups.
In the first experiment, the subjects were asked to play the Japanese version of “”Operation,”” then look at a series of photos and then perform the tasks again.
One group looked at photos young puppies and kittens, while another group looked at photos of grown cats and dogs.
Those who looked at photos of cute baby animals before attempting these tests ended up with a performance score 44 per cent higher on average than the group who had looked at adult animals.
The experiment was performed two more times, with subjects trying other skill-testing tasks. A control group was also added that looked at images of delicious food. The results of the first experiment were duplicated- those who looked at the cute pictures did much better than those who looked at adult animals, while looking at food images affected a subject’s performance very little.