Watching cute animal pictures boosts performance

By in science

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!

Cute picture of puppy and baby rabbits

“Mmm you to rabbit pillows are so nice and fluffy!” Photo by Jane Burton

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.

Performance improves considerably more after seeing pictures of cute animals than adult animals or pleasant food.

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!

Cute grey pets

Okay, one more! Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture pets

“I like to lick you rabbit..” Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - fluffy pets

“Oow this rabbit is so nice and fluffly” Photo byJane Burton

Cute animal picture - pets playing

“C’mon rabbit, let’s play!” Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - dog playing

“Get away from me you cute rabbit” Photo byJane Burton

Cute animal picture - dog and rabbit

“Rabbit, I feel a bit uncomfortable…” Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - tiny dog and rabbit

Tiny dog + same coloured rabbit = cute! Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - puppy and rabbit

Cute picture of a dog and rabbit. Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - black and white pets

Same-coloured dog and rabbit. Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - baby rabbits and kitten

More cuteness, black and white kitten and rabbits! Photo by Jane Burton

Cute animal picture - sleeping dog

Cute picture of a dog and rabbit. Photo by Jane Burton

Cute kitten likes rabbit

“I like you mr big rabbit!” Photo by Jane Burton

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

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  • Gordon Richardson

    Good stuff Jolle! Thanks for sharing. I teach 5th grade and use a SmartBoard….I like using pics for it’s wallpaper and you can bet I will using some cute pics for the background.

  • http://facebook alexia sanchez

    i love dogs and cats i might print these out and hang them up in my room

  • http://facebook syndal hittson


  • antoinetonio

    That study deserves nomination for the Ig-Nobel prize!


    omg I SUCK BUTTS


    SO CUTE MY MAN !!! >.<




      ME TOO