Every week when I hear about a new health study, I am almost instantly dismayed and depressed. The batteries in my kids’ toys might kill them; sitting at my desk all day might kill me; and peanut butter could make me sick.
But today, some good news! Researchers in Japan have found that looking at cute animal pictures may enhance worker productivity. Yep, you now have a legitimate reason to stare at the San Diego Zoo’s adorable panda cam.
In the experiment, researchers asked participants to perform a task that required some degree of concentration—ranging from a timed visual search task to a physical dexterity game. Researchers then showed participants one of three groups of images—pictures of baby animals, pictures of adults animals, and pictures of “pleasant” food. After viewing the images, the participants performed the same task again. Those who had viewed baby animal pictures showed the most marked improvement not just in accuracy, but in speed too.
The authors concluded that cute images can “induce careful behavioral tendencies” in situations that require mental concentration. Perhaps the next teen safe driving campaign could feature this guy?