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Japanese study shows looking at cute pictures of baby animals can improve concentration

They may make you inadvertently, and embarrassingly, exclaim 'awwwwwww' - but it appears that cute images of animals may have another - more workplace acceptable - use.

Seeing pictures of cute animals may boost workers' performance in jobs that require concentration, a team at Hiroshima University has shown.

The study, which involved 130 college students, showed that looking at pictures of baby animals could improve your concentration by a tenth.

Researchers also found that people who looked at pictures of baby animals performed better than those who looked at adult animals.

The finding was published in an article called "The Power of Kawaii" in the online version of US science journal PLOS One.

A cuteness-triggered positive emotion prompted by images of baby animals resulted in an effect associated with taking motivation from anything that gives you happiness, pleasure, or joy.

The study based its findings on three groups of students. One group looked at pictures of puppies and kittens. The second looked at grown up animals and the third were shown images of tasty food.

The images of food were entirely ineffective in improving performance, and the work-rate of those looking at adult animals improved - but only by 5%.

However, the performance of those shown images of puppies and kittens improved by 10%.

The findings of the study would suggest that viewing cute pictures makes people perform tasks with greater time and care.

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