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Did you know that viewing cute images can increase your focus and productivity?

We know that images of kittens and puppies often evoke positive emotions and associations. But scientists have found that these images can also have positive effects on your cognition and behavior. According to recent research, taking a few moments to stop and watch that super cute YouTube video of a kitten playing peek-a-boo can significantly improve your focus.

In part, these responses are also due to what is known as the “baby schema” – in other words, the human predisposition towards baby-like features – a large head with a small body, big eyes, and rounded features. These “ultra cute” characteristics activate positive and nurturing instincts, while also impacting attention and perception.

New Research

A study published by scientists at the University of Japan revealed that images, particularly of baby animals, are powerful tools to capture people’s attention. Hiroshi Nittono and his team found that participants shown images of puppies and kittens performed significantly better on tasks that required concentration as opposed to “less cute” images of adult cats and dogs, or neutral objects.

 “Cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.”  

                                                                                                ~Nittono et al.

Why do baby-like features have such a powerful impact on people’s focus and attention to detail-oriented tasks? One explanation for this phenomena is that infants require caregivers to pay careful attention to their mental and physical well-being, as well as exert heightened awareness for potential threats. As innate human responses to infants are often similar across species, images of puppies doing just about anything will evoke positive emotions and increased vigilance.

Cute Focus

To help you get started, we have created a “Cute Focus” board on Pinterest. Check it out today and get your daily dose of cuteness. You can also follow our other boards for regular updates on the latest in health and wellness!


Brosch, T., Sander, D., & Scherer, K. R. (2007). That baby caught my eye… attention capture by infant faces.

Glocker, M. L., Langleben, D. D., Ruparel, K., Loughead, J. W., Gur, R. C., & Sachser, N. (2009). Baby schema in infant faces induces cuteness perception and motivation for caretaking in adults. Ethology, 115(3), 257-263.

Nittono, H., Fukushima, M., Yano, A., & Moriya, H. (2012). The power of kawaii: Viewing cute images promotes a careful behavior and narrows attentional focus. PloS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046362

Sanefuji, W., Ohgami, H., & Hashiya, K. (2007). Development of preference for baby faces across species in humans (Homo sapiens). Journal of Ethology, 25(3), 249-254.





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