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Posted on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 6 a.m.

Study indicates that viewing cute pet photos & videos could boost work performance

By Lorrie Shaw

Cute Bentley.JPG

Lorrie Shaw | Contributor

There is no shortage of cute pet videos and images floating around the Internet. We know that all too well here on plenty of readers are happy to not only share photos of their pets on our weekly photo feature, and judging from the comments, people love to see them.

And it makes sense. So often you’ll hear people say that viewing adorable images gives them a much-needed boost.

A recent study out of Hiroshima University reinforces this idea - and it indicates that looking at photos of cute animals might even make us more productive.

They attribute it to “kawaii”, a term used to describe a quality of cuteness in Japanese culture.

Hiroshi Nittono, Michiko Fukushima, Akihiro Yano and Hiroki Moriya were researchers conducting the study, which was published in PLOS One.

Citing the study:

Kawaii things not only make us happier, but also affect our behavior. This study shows that viewing cute things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional focus. This effect is not specific to tasks related to caregiving or social interaction. For future applications, cute objects may be used as a facile emotion elicitor. Cute features not only make objects more user friendly and approachable, but also induce careful behavioral tendencies in the users, which is beneficial in specific situations, such as driving and office work.

Viewing images of baby animals not only induces happiness, but a sense of goodwill and friendliness toward others.

Increased happiness, productivity and goodwill are qualities that we can all benefit from, so could this be a way to improve workplace environments?

Lorrie Shaw leads the pets section for and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.



Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

If I had a choice, that's probably ALL I would do. Work is SO over-rated! :)


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Re: "Billy 10:12 AM on 10/15/2012 it makes you more you can work you can make up for all that time you wasted look at cat pictures on the internet...." It's unfortunate that Billy is never allowed a break at his job. I am able to spend 5 - 10 minutes a couple of times a day on my phone looking at whatever I want on my phone... it takes nothing away from my job and apparently may contribute to my output.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 2:12 p.m. it makes you more you can work you can make up for all that time you wasted look at cat pictures on the internet.... Derp?


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

If you work on an assembly line...possibly...but then there's always breaks...and lunch. Laughter soothes the soul, and heightens creativity. You know the old saying: "All work and no play makes jack a dull boy."


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

Being "more productive" simply means producing more. Trying to dance around a definition of the word is pure spin. It's not that I don't see what they were trying to imply in this study. But the simple fact remains....if you're looking at cat pictures you're not doing your job (unless your job is to look at cat picture of course). The thing that would make a LOT more sense...would be investigating what it is at work that causes people to feel the need to look at cat pictures. Tackling that would make people more productive without them needing to waste time looking at cat pictures. Instead this study looks like it stopped short of finding a legitimate answer because the researcher found the answer they were already looking for.

Lorrie Shaw

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Billy, I guess it's all in how one looks at what "productive" means, right? Good leaders know how to encourage and enhance productivity. It doesn't necessarily mean "working harder". Thanks for your comment, as always!


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Crazy cat ladies aren't so crazy after all.