Study: Cute Pics Improve Work Skills
Hang in there, baby — Friday’s coming. And if that sentiment doesn’t automatically make you feel better, reread it while looking at a kitten dangling from a rope.
See that? It worked. Friday’s here.
As that one woman in your office can tell you (or if you are her, no need), cute pictures of snuggly, doe-eyed little critters touch a soft spot in us humans. Baby schema — the set of features that make young animals appealing, such as big eyes and a head too big for the body — have been shown in experiments to capture people’s attention, make them smile and even induce caregiving to others. Oh sure, the boss may seem tough, but one look at a basket full of puppies and he’ll want to rub you right on your little belly.
A study published online this week by the journal PloS ONE suggests that viewing cute images not only makes people feel better, but improves performance in completing certain tasks.
The study comes out of Hiroshima University in Japan, home of Hello Kitty and countless anime beings. Researchers sought to understand the effect of images described as kawaii, loosely translated as "cute," on behavior. In the first of three experiments, student subjects playing a game similar to Operation exhibited improved fine-motor dexterity after looking at photos of kittens and puppies, just as real surgeons do. A quote from the study nodding to earlier work reads:
"The improvement in the accuracy of this task can be interpreted as an index of increased attention to and control of motor actions.… That is, the tenderness elicited by cute images is more than just a positive affective feeling state. It can make people more physically tender in their motor behavior."
A second experiment produced similar results for visual tasks, supporting the researchers’ hypothesis that cute images narrow focus and attention. Control subjects shown pictures of adult animals, and presumably some pretty darn ugly ones, showed no performance improvement in either experiment.
The third experiment involved a visual challenge with groups of subjects viewing either baby animal pictures, adult animal pictures or more neutral "images of pleasant foods." There was no improved performance evidence in the food group. It doesn't really seem reasonable, anyway, that looking at — what’s "pleasant food" anyway? — a chocolate muffin, say, would sharpen your typing skills. But how about eating it? That seems worth a try.
"Cute features not only make objects more user friendly and approachable," the study concludes, "but also induce careful behavioral tendencies in the users, which is beneficial in specific situations, such as driving and office work."
We’re not sure why exactly this warrants a scientific study but we’re going to stare at a baby marmoset right now and, with improved concentration, wait for the answer to emerge.
Photo: Fotosearch/Getty Images
And also study's have shown that if you wear Kevlar gloves all day you are less likely to get cuts and less instances of getting stitches..... (obviously but who wants to be forced to wear gloves all day when working with rubber!!!!!)
So who ever does these study's are retarded.
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Editor's note: We will now be publishing Miss Manners articles twice weekly, but you will only see one question and answer per article. You can expect to see these articles appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays going forward.
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