Is There a Benefit to Looking at Photos of Baby Animals?

A Japanese research study found that viewing pictures of baby animals might have benefits, including improved physical focus on detail and concentration. Kawaii, the Japanese word for "cute," refers to objects that typically have features most commonly found in baby animals, such as large eyes and a bigger head in proportion to the body. People who viewed pictures of baby animals before completing tasks that required fine motor skills were found to be quicker and more accurate than people who did not view the pictures. Researchers hypothesized that viewing cute images stimulated the brain and motivated people to be caregivers, which would result in more gentle movements. Subjects who looked at pictures of baby animals also tended to perform better on activities that required quickly focusing to pick out particular numbers from a set, although it is not clear why.

More about kawaii:

  • People are more likely to speak and move more slowly and carefully around baby animals and children, even if they do not realize it.

  • Japanese anime merchandise features characters who have features commonly found in babies, and it is thought to be popular worldwide because of the positive mental feelings that are brought out by their kawaii.

  • Looking at photos of baby animals to improve focus and productivity might be especially helpful before driving a vehicle or performing office tasks.

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