Science Agrees: Cute Animals Make Life Better

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Having trouble focusing on that long email chain, or wondering if you need a third cup of coffee before you can tackle the to-do list?

Just watch a video of three dogs playing with one stick, and your symptoms should clear right up. Because maybe what you really need is to look at something kawaii, or cute.

A research study conducted at Hiroshima University in Japan has recently shown that looking at pictures of cute animals, most especially cute baby animals, can boost your attention and careful thinking.

Hiroshi Nittono, head of the research team, concluded that looking at cute pictures “improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional focus.”

First, the study asked college students to perform an Operation-like game in which they removed pieces from a person-shaped game board with tweezers. Students who were shown pictures of baby animals performed better than those shown adult animals. It’s likely that the baby animal pictures produced nurturing feelings, useful when performing a task that requires careful behavior.

Next, students answered questions about groups of numbers after looking at either animal pictures or pictures of delicious-looking food. The animal-viewing groups performed best, indicating that cute pictures focus attention.

Put it to the test right now by checking out our partner site, Dogwork.com, and get lost for a minute or five in adorable animal videos and pics. May I suggest a montage of animals at play?

I say these intrepid researches deserve a round of applause.

Okay, now you can get back to work. Just keep a dose of kawaii close by for emergencies.