If you want to work in a more focused and therefore more productive manner, look at some cute kitten pictures beforehand. Cuteness creates a more positive mentality, which in turn allows the mind to become more focused. That seems to be the conclusion of a Japanese study.
The question I would ask is, “how long does the cuteness affect last for?” Do you have to keep topping up the brain with more cute kitten photos? And then, like a drug, does your brain become accustomed to them so you need more and more until…you’re a cuteness addict.
That’s meant to be a bit lighthearted but in Japan there does seem to be a cult of cuteness. I appears to me that there are lots of young girls who dress up in a very cute way etc. Is this why the Japanese are very good engineers? Are there pictures of cute kittens on the walls at Honda and Toyota?
The study published in summary form on the PlosOne website concluded that cute is popular because it makes you feel more positive. When participants in the study were asked to do tasks that required focus and attention they performed these tasks much better after viewing cute photos of kittens or puppies. Cute Kittens and puppies (or cute young animals in general) were much more successful in promoting focused work than cute pictures of adult animals. Adult animals are automatically less cute. It’s about cuteness overloaded. The more overloaded, the better, it seems.
Improvements after seeing cute kittens and puppies were 43.9% ±10.3% (± means the margin for error is about 10%) while improvements in performance on seeing adult animals were 11.9% ±5.5%.
Images of other “pleasant” things such as nice looking food hardly worked at all to improve performance.
The Japanese study called it “The Power of Kawaii“. “Kawaii” means “lovable”, “cute”, or “adorable” in Japanese. Well, I’ll just have to completely change my attitude towards cute pictures of cats, even those with silly captions. They actually do something tangible that improves life. The other question I have is, “does this affect different people equally?”.
My interpretation of this is probably simplistic. It is this. If a person is more content they will work better. People will work with more passion and energy if they are content. Cute images of kittens make most people feel more contented and fuzzy inside. Perhaps it creates a false sense that all is well with the world. It seems that this is the obvious and common sense reason why cuteness translates to a better focused employee.