Oogle away! A Japanese study has just been published that claims that looking at pictures of cute animals improves your mood and increases productivity in the workplace. So now your 27 minutes spent on Daily Puppy at work when your boss isn’t looking are totally legit.
According to the study lead by Japanese researcher Hiroshi Nittono for Hiroshima University, looking at pictures of puppies and panda cams and grumpy, grumpy cat videos at work is great for both you and your boss.
Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.
For the study, Nittono and his colleagues studied a group of 48 students as they completed a task similar to the American board game “Operation.” The students attempted the task three times; the first after looking at a series of pictures of baby animals, then after seeing adult animals and finally after seeing pictures of delicious foods.
The students who looked at cute animals did far better at the game then did peers who observed adult animals or food, outperforming their peers by a “significant margin,” according to Gawker.
Why the improvement in mood and productivity? One reason was linked to a behavior tendency of adults to slow down speech when talking to puppies and kittens. These behaviors “may transfer to subsequent task performance,” according to the Washington Post.
Another reason may be connected to human nurturing instincts. “If viewing cute things makes the viewer more attentive, the performance of a non-motor perceptual task would also be improved,” the study stated.
So continue awwww-ing at your desk, because these little guys aren’t really a distraction.