Recent Study Proves “Cute” Images Improve Concentration


Do you cringe every time you get an email forward from a coworker that has images like these?


Looking at Cute Images Improves Concentration

What’s cuter than kittens in coffee cups?

Looking at Cute Images Improves Concentration

Puppies on a bench, maybe?

Looking at Cute Images Improves Concentration

Or baby bunnies kissing?


Well, according to PlosOne, a Japanese research paper, entitled “The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus” you shouldn’t delete the email but scroll through it. In fact, taking a break from the task at hand to glance over yet another email from Betsy the animal lover in the cube next door, as foolish as it sounds, could improve your focus.

The study concluded that looking at cute images at work could boost overall job performance and attention to detail. “Kawaii” is Japanese for cute which translates in this instance by researchers; to traits similar to those portrayed in human babies. Round faces, big eyes, head bigger in proportion to body.  This information feeds into the hypothesis formed by research team at Hiroshima University, “that concentration might be improved around cute things as a kind of instinctual behavior reflex that occurs when humans are around babies that can’t care for themselves.”

To determine why this might be the case, the Hiroshima team performed an experiment with a group of 132 participants. The group was divided up into three groups and given tasks such as: removing small objects from slots with tweezers similar to playing the Japanese equivalent of the board game Operation, a reaction time test, and counting the number of times a specific digit shows up in a block of numbers. After the first round of each task, each contributor viewed a set of photos (adult dogs and cats, neutral images such as food or pictures of puppies and kittens) before returning to their set task.

Those who viewed the pictures of baby animals had improved by as much as 44 percent in the second round of the task, compared to nearly zero for those who viewed the other images.  So the next time Betsy forwards you an email full of cute little tiny fuzzy baby bunnies, squirrels, hedgehogs, you name it – take a break, say “awwwwwww” then get back to work better and faster!!

Don’t let Betsy have all the fun, get your own collection of cuteness here.


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