Those who thought watching videos of kittens wearing superhero capes and flying through the air was just a waste of time may have been proven wrong.
A new study done by Hiroshima University in Japan found that viewing cute animal videos or pictures can actually increase work productivity.
The study used 50 college students and asked them to complete tasks requiring concentration. (One task tested the students’ precision in the game
“Operation.”) Before completing the task, some students were shown a picture of a “cute” kitten or puppy, while others viewed pictures of adult dogs and cats. The students who viewed the cute kitten and puppy images performed better on the task than the students who saw the adult animal pictures.
“The tenderness elicited by cute images is more than just a positive affective feeling state, but it can make people more physically tender in their motor behavior,” the research article reads. “The present study shows that perceiving cuteness not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness.”
David Wise, a senior from Los Angeles, Calif., said he believes the study to be true because he uses cat videos as a stress relief.
“Whenever I look at cute kitten videos it cleanses the mental palette for me,” Wise said. “It either makes me laugh or brings a smile to my face or gives me the ‘aw’ factor. It clears my mind of all my stress and all my worries at least for a little bit, so I totally think that the study is legit.”
Wise said one of his favorite animal videos is “Surprised Kitty (Original).”
“It just brings a smile to my face when I’m stressed,” Wise said.
Morgan Smith, a sophomore studying history, once spent four hours watching cute cat videos but said she is not quite convinced by the results of the study.
“I think it’s valid to an extent, but if you keep clicking on cat videos and watching more and more you are not going to be very productive,” Smith said. “Before you know it, it’s going to be 10:00 p.m. and you’ve spent all day watching cat videos.”
Smith said one of her favorite videos is “Cute munchkin baby kitten talks too much.”
“It’s this little tiny cat, and it just has this really high-pitched meow, and it is just so cute,” Smith said.
Christy Witt, 24, from San Diego, Calif., said she doubts the validity of the study and sees no benefits from watching cat videos.
“Watching videos of cats is a colossal waste of life,” Witt said. “I just don’t understand why someone would do that.”