Why cute kitties help concentration
Tue, 09 Oct 2012 4:39p.m.
By 3 News online staff
A recent study shows cute animal photos may do more than just brighten our day – they also increase our concentration.
The study from Hiroshima University found people who had recently viewed images of baby animals were more diligent and effective when performing tasks.
Researchers gave three groups of people different images to view, including baby animals, adult animals and pictures of food.
After looking at the images the participants took part in various exercises to test and measure their level of concentration.
Those who had looked at images of baby animals performed better at tasks then before they had viewed the pictures, and outperformed the other groups.
Researchers say the emotion associated with seeing something cute increases motivation.
“The feeling of cuteness is a positive emotion that is associated with the action tendency of approach and systematic processing,” says researcher Hiroshi Nittono.
“When we see a cute thing, we are motivated to get closer to it and know its details.”
Mr Nittono says the narrower attention focus can last even after we stop looking at the images.
He says some people are more likely to be drawn to cute things than others.
“As the feeling of cuteness is related to sociality motivation, it is possible that lonely people who do not satisfy their need to connect with others are likely to be more attracted by cute things that soothe them.”
The study suggests Western countries adopt the Japanese culture of cute – or ‘kawaii’ – to increase workplace productivity.
“Cute things are generally considered childish, and thus their value is underestimated in Western countries,” says Mr Nittono.
“In contrast, Japan is in a world-leading position in terms of the social acceptance of cute or kawaii things. Cute things are not only childish, they can have a beneficial function even in the workplace.”
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