Cute animals improve our problem solving abilities

When we look at pictures of cute animals, our brains are better able to focus. This means that we work more effectively - whether we’re at work or at school.

Baby animals evoke positive emotions in people, especially young mammals. Japanese researchers have conducted a study to enquire if pictures of cute animals also can influence our actions. 

In the study, groups of subjects performed simple tasks which involved fine motor exercises and observation. During a break, the subjects looked at pictures, before resuming their tasks.

The group who got to see pictures of cute animal cubs performed significantly better after the break. The group looking at pictures of adult animals did slightly better than before the break. The group who got to see pictures of delicious food dishes, did not improve at all.

The researchers' explanation is that pictures of cute animals evoke positive emotions that enable our brains to focus on certain objects or tasks.

The Danish brain researcher Thomas Ramsøy thinks the Japanese explanation is plausible. He’s working to document how images can change our behaviour and explains that it is an unconscious process. Better focus is a kind of unconscious biological reflex in the brain. Pet photos, as well as other image categories, affect us without us knowing, and influence how we behave, Ramsøy claims.

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