You might think that the abundance of cute and funny animal pictures on the internet is a serious detriment to your productivity, especially if you are trying to work or study. However, according to a Japanese study, looking at cute animal images while you are working can actually have a positive effect on your productivity; increase your attention to detail and your overall performance.
In the study, 48 students were observed as they completed a task similar to the board game “Operation” which requires their concentration and attention to detail. The students had to perform the task three times. The first time they looked at photos of cute baby animals, the second time they looked at adult animals and the third time they looked at photos of delicious food. The students that looked at the adorable baby animals did much better by a significant amount than the others. The results showed that looking at the baby animals improved performance on the task by up to 44%. When it came to numerical tasks, the baby animal group also saw their results improve by 16%.
Could this mean that checking out photos of puppies with funny captions or videos of kittens playing might help you perform better in your work and studies?
What Is the Reason Behind This?
The researchers are attempting to figure out why the cute and funny animal pictures had such a positive effect on the concentration of the test subjects. One theory has to do with nurturing instincts – viewing cute things could possibly make the viewer more attentive so that they will be better at performing a perceptual task.
Another reason why funny animal pictures might help your work is that taking short breaks of any kind, whether to look at a web comic, watch Youtube or read a blog, will help to keep you more focused throughout the workday. It has been found that short recreational web browsing breaks can actually refresh tired workers and improve their productivity, making them more productive than they would be if they worked straight through with no rest breaks in between.
This conclusion was also reached by a study at the University of Melbourne in 2009 which found that workers that were able to take short and unobtrusive breaks and surf the Web where more productive that their counterparts who were not allowed to do so. Also, looking at cute and funny animal pictures will likely boost our mood, making us happier. When we are happy we are automatically better and more productive at what we do and will likely be more confident as well, which improves our performance.
So the next time you are feeling a little bit stressed, behind and overwhelmed with your workday, take a short break and check out some cute and funny animal pictures. Those cute ponies, kittens, puppies and monkeys just might help to refresh your brain and make you more of a superstar productive performer for the rest of the day.
About the Author: Gene Ose works as a consultant for major corporations. He diagnoses problem areas and creates plans-of-action for higher employee productivity and ergonomic work stations.