The power of cute animals in the workplace

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October 4, 2012, 7:41 pm
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(NECN: Brian Burnell) - Well now you don't have to feel too guilty for looking at the website LOLCats, featuring pictures of cute kitties with funny captions, while at work.

Could looking at this for a few minutes help increase your productivity at work? According to researchers at Hiroshima University, yes.

They call it the power of "Kawaii," which is "cute" in Japanese. In their study, they gave people a task. Once they completed it, they showed one group pictures of cute kittens. The other group looked at neutral pictures. Then they performed the task again.  The results were that the group that looked at cute pictures improved by as much as 40 percent, while the other group saw no improvement.  

Olga Clark is a professor of organizational psychology at the University of Hartford, and says it's the power of positive emotions.

"Just because they used kittens and pictures of cute animals to elicit positive emotions, still that doesn't change the fact that any positive emotion is good," said Clark.

So while puppies work, so would a quick break to celebrate someone's birthday in the office or a nice conversation with a co-worker.

"A smile, something ... a nice little break, a pleasant social interaction could have the same or very, very similar effect," said Clark.

That effect being enhanced concentration and more careful behavior according to the University of Hiroshima study.

"Somebody thinking more clearly, somebody being less stressed out," said Clark. "It has a great stress reduction effect and as a consequence we just do more and better."

"If you work on a computer all day you know its going to take a change of attitude by the boss for this to actually happen because a lot of times you try to go to a cute site like that and this is what you get."

So tell the boss about this study - but show him some puppy pictures first.

Tags: Brian Burnell, kittens, puppies, workplace, University of Hartford, cute animal photos, positive emotions, University of Hiroshima study, Olga Clark
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