“The Power of Kawaii” — Cute images make you more focused? “The Power of Kawaii” — Cute images make you more focused? – SOMETHING ABOUT SCIENCE

“The Power of Kawaii” — Cute images make you more focused?

Love all things cute? Want to be surrounded by cute things at all times? Here is a recent study that you can use as an excuse to your boss why you need cute things at work.

The study was conducted by a group in Japan, where they tested the effect of viewing kawaii images on attentiveness. Kawaii (可愛い) is a Japanese word for “cute,” also associated with affective feelings, such as the “awww” reaction when one looks at a cuddly baby.

In the study, participants were asked to view either images of puppies and kittens or images of adult dogs and cats. Then they were asked to perform some tasks that require being focused. Three tasks were tested, each with different group of participants. (You can read more about the experiments here.)

The result was that participants who viewed infant animal images (rated cute) were able to perform tasks better than those who viewed images of adult animals. The authors of the study call this effect a “cuteness-triggered positive emotion” and suggest placing cute objects at work or while driving to improve concentration.

While the study is interesting, I must leave the post with a note of caution. I put a question mark in the title of this post because I am not totally convinced with the validity of the results. Each group of participants consisted of less than 50 university students, all between ages 18-22. They are probably from the same university and most likely all Japanese. This is a very narrow range of subjects, and, although the results may still be valid, caution is required when interpreting the results.

Thank you for reading the post. See you next week! 🙂

Reference:
The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus

Lynn Kimlicka

I am a scientist-turned writer and editor, who loves to read and write (more than doing experiments). I have a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology, with a specialization in structural biology. My interests range widely, from life sciences to pop culture and arts to music. I am bilingual in English and Japanese.

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