Looking at Cute Images May Improve Concentration
New research coming out of Japan suggests that the power of "cute" or "Kawaii" can be very important to our brains in order to increase the level of concentration for a short time. Of course in the culture of Japan, there is the quality of cuteness which permeates so much of it.
The study was done at the University of Hiroshima where they found that being exposed to cute pictures made a sample group better at playing a surgery board game that was similar to Operation. Even more intriguing, it seemed the cuter the image the better the improvement in dexterity.
In order to understand why, the Hiroshima team devised 3 different experiments to help explain this. First the team had to define the meaning of cute and settled on the definition of "baby" cuteness with the big eyes and round face. In 2 of 3 experiments, those who had been exposed to cute baby animals showed improved scores and higher dexerity.
The third experiment, however, didn’t find any improvement in reaction times among the participants who had to identify a letter flashed quickly on a screen in front of them. This implies that cuteness works as an aid to concentration, not some kind of general aid to mental ability.
So what caused the improved concentration when looking at baby animals? The researchers found that “the psychophysiological state underlying the feeling of cuteness has to be explored” before any firm conclusions as to why cuteness improves concentration can be reliably concluded. There are also cultural responses to cuteness which need to be considered such as in Japan the gender differences of "Kawaii" aren't as big as those between the Europeans.
All of this went right along with their hypothesis that concentration might be improved around cute things as a kind of instinctual behavioral reflex that occurs when humans are around babies that can’t care for themselves, therefore causing a state of more alertness. Enjoy some examples of cuteness below!
Clouded Leopard Credit: Mehgan Murphy
Batagur Baska Turtle
VIDEO Cute Animal Videos Improve Concentration + Dexterity?!