Thanks to Nancy Ward for the cute cat photo
Japanese researchers from the Hiroshima University studied1 whether looking at photos of cute animals could have an impact on productivity. I’m not sure how they came up with this idea in the first place, but for one thing, it’s known that looking at these kinds of pics cause positive feelings because they resemble newborns (big eyes, large heads – a typical Kindchenschema trigger).
Apparently these pictures also can help us to perform better at tasks which require attention to detail, narrow focus and concentration.
So how exactly did they set up the study?
First of all, they recruited a bunch of college students to play a game. The game required them to pick up 14 tiny little objects using tweezers. They let all the students play one round of the game.
Then they showed half of the students pictures of baby animals, and the other half of the students pictures of adult animals.
Then they played the game. Those students who had looked at pictures of baby animals improved their performance in the game substantially, whereas those who had looked at pictures of adult showed just a very small improvement.
It’s a fun and interesting study, and it shows how important our state of mind is if we want to perform at our best and improve productivity. But I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they compared the effectiveness of looking at pictures of cute animals vs. doing a self hypnosis for improved productivity session. I’m quite sure they would have found that hypnosis for productivity is much more powerful.
- Nittono H, Fukushima M, Yano A, Moriya H (2012) The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus. PLoS ONE 7(9): e46362. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046362 [↩]