Awww, look at the adorable kittens! Ohhhh, those puppies are so cute! If you're looking at our gallery of baby pet photos on the Internet while at work, tell your boss you're doing it for the job. Really.
According to a study out of Hiroshima University in Japan, looking at photos of cute pets make you more productive on the job. The study was conducted with the help of students at the University. Researchers showed them photos of fuzzy baby animals and then tested how well they completed a series of tasks involving dropping wooden pieces into holes without touching the edges. It's a little like the game Operation. The researchers then showed the students photos of adult animals and had them repeat the tasks. The student subjects performed the tasks quicker and better – were more productive – after seeing the adorable, cute, and cuddly pet photos.
This definitely raises the question: why? The researchers suggest that it might have something to do with the way we talk to babies, whether they are human or animals. Here's the scientific explanation: "The improvement in the accuracy of this task can be interpreted as an index of increased attention to and control of motor action." Put in layman's terms: the tenderness elicited by cute images is more than just a positive feeling. It makes us more physically tender, even in our fine motor behavior. So, we take more care with our actions. We slow down and are more accurate.
So, tell your boss, looking at these photos of cute puppies and kittens may not be part of your official job description, but you really are working. Really.