Good news! Watching cute animal videos is good for your mental health. Plus, it may even help you work better!
A recent study by researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan, found that looking at pictures of puppies and kittens boost concentration and attention. It notes “viewing cute things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional focus.”
In the same study, students were asked to view stimuli involving a large letter made up of smaller letters. After viewing the baby animal pictures, the participants were able to more quickly process the small letters relative to the large one. A possible explanation noted was that caring for babies requires careful attention to their mental and physical health, an idea that fits with findings that looking at baby animals produced more of an effect than watching adult animals.
In addition, a study by Jessica Gall Myrick of Indiana University found that participants reported feeling more energetic after watching cat-related videos. A study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found a correlation between humor — something often associated with the cute animal videos — and feelings of energy.
“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional payoff may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward.”