TOKYO - Looking at pictures of cute animals enhances performance in work requiring concentration, according to an experiment.
The experiment called "Power of Kawaii" was conducted by a team led by a Hiroshima University professor with 130 college students. The word "kawaii" means cute in Japanese.
Participants were asked to perform two sets of tasks picking up small parts with tweezers to retrieve them from a hole without touching its perimeter and choosing designated numbers from a line of numbers. They were divided into three groups and each was shown either seven photos of kittens and puppies, or of adult cats and dogs, or of sushi and other food.
The group shown photos of kittens and puppies saw their accuracy and speed improve 44 per cent in the task for picking up small parts and 16 per cent in the number finding assignments, according to the results.
In contrast, there was no before-and-after change in performance in the other groups, the team said.
"The feeling that something is adorable has a function to prompt a person to want to be closer to and know more about the object," said Dr Hiroshi Nittono, a professor of psychophysiology and engineering psychology.
"That perhaps creates the effect of concentrating one's attention," he said.