A lot of you fellow readers will be happy to hear the following: Japanese scientists have demonstrated that watching cute animal pictures may actually boost your work performance by inspiring more attention and careful behaviour!
It is not surprising that this study comes from researchers in Japan since in particular Japan’s culture accepts and appreciates cuteness and childishness at the social level, think of for example Helly Kitty and Pokemon! They love cute animal pictures there!
In the first experiment subjects performed a children’s game that tests players’ hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills (similar to the ‘operation game). Using tweezers, the participants were asked to remove 14 small pieces from holes on the patient’s body depicted on the game board without touching the edges of the holes. Those who looked at photos of cute baby animals before performing the test tests ended up with a performance score 44 per cent higher on average than the group who had looked at adult animals.
Further experiments showed that visual performance was also considerably improved by cute images, while looking at images of nice food affected subject’s performance very little. Furthermore, the researchers found the cute-picture-viewing participants were better at honing in on local features than identifying big-picture elements of visual stimuli.
These results thus show that perceiving cuteness not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness. “For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work” the authors conclude.
What better way to start the day than by watching pictures of cute animals!
Now back to work, but fully concentrated!Hiroshi Nittono, Michiko Fukushima, Akihiro Yano, Hiroki Moriya (2012). The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus PLOS ONE, 7 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046362