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Published 05 October 2012 09:42, Updated 08 October 2012 05:50
Pictures of wide-eyed fluffy animals may soon morph from chain email fodder to a productivity tool, following a study by Hiroshima University.
The research was headed by Hiroshi Nittono and examined the effects that viewing cute animal images – big heads, huge foreheads, saucer eyes – had on subsequent task performance.
One experiment tested dexterity and concentration. The 48 male and female participants were asked to use tweezers to remove small pieces from a patient’s body depicted on a game board without touching the edges of the holes.
After their first effort, one group of participants were shown a cute animal image. A second group was shown an image of an older animal. A third control group was shown nothing.
The group that viewed images of cute animals showed a marked increase in performance score. They retrieved more pieces and they retrieved them faster.
The same results were found in a second experiment that tested visual alertness.
“Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images,” Nittono wrote.
“For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioural tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.”