Decorating your desk, office, or cubicle with pictures of adorable, cuddly kitties might help you squeeze some extra productivity out of those long work hours, according to a new study.
The study, performed by researches at Hiroshima University (yes, Japan again) may not hold up to future scrutiny, and it might be something of a localized phenomenon, what with Japan’s obsession with all things “kawaii.” Still, LiveScience reports that the study found the correlation between cuddly animal exposure and work productivity to be surprisingly positive.
The study: Published in PLoS ONE, researchers detailed two tests. In one, 48 college students were divided into two groups and asked to play a game similar to “Operation.” Participants in one group were shown pictures of baby animals, while the other were shown pictures of adult animals. The former group had much more success in the test.
The second test had the students divided into three groups, with each asked to count how many times a certain number appeared in a sequence. One group was shown pictures of baby animals while the other was shown pictures of adult animals. The third were shown pictures of “pleasant foods” like sushi and steak.
The “cute photo” group once again outperformed the “adult photo” group by a significant margin.
Authors concluded that “kawaii things not only make us happier, but also affect our behavior,” adding “viewing cute things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional focus.”
So next time your boss harasses you for the amount of time you spend on lolcats.com, bookmark this story and email it to him as proof that your penchant for funny pictures of cuddly-wuddly cats actually makes you a genuine asset to the team.