Cute animals improve work performance

Looking at cute images of animals may improve a person's performance in the workplace according to new research published in the online edition of the US journal PLoS ONE. The study found the sight of puppies and kittens can heighten peoples' mental skills.

Investigators from Hiroshima University discovered individuals can boost their concentration levels by taking in pictures of such animals, with performance scores in the board game Operation improving by 44 per cent as a result of observing the snaps.

In addition, people were shown to take longer when taking on the task, with duration of the challenge increasing by 12 per cent.

The authors wrote: "This finding suggests that viewing cute images makes participants behave more deliberately and perform tasks with greater time and care."

It was also shown that in numbers experiments, those who look at cute pictures become more attentive when their task is unlikely to raise empathetic feelings.

Chartered Psychologist Michael Guttridge comments:

"We know that companies where there are crèches and kindergartens nearby give more to charity and that pictures of children or childlike reminders in the workplace - and maybe pets come into that category - lead to more honest behaviour among employees. But this is the first time I have seen it suggested that there is an effect on work performance."