Looking at cute things improves motor tasks – the power of Kawaii

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In Japanese, the term Kawaii is used to describe things that are cute in nature. Cute is often defined as having a large head to body proportion, round and large eyes. 

Stuff that people may associate with cute would include babies, small animals and animated characters. 

Japanese scientists have done a study on how looking at cute things can improve task and motor skills. 

The study examined 48 university students and were divided into 2 groups. One was assigned to look at baby animal pictures while the other was assigned to look at adult animal photos. 

They were later tested on on their motor tasks. The researchers gave them a game to play which involved removing plastic parts with tweezers from a plastic body, like a doctor carrying out surgery

The study found that baby animals were considered cuter than adult animals. Participants who were given the baby animal pictures had increased attention and motor skills. They outperformed the participants in the other group.

Participants who were given the baby animal pictures however took a longer time to accomplish their tasks 

What all these imply is that looking at cute stuff makes them perform tasks more deliberately and with greater attention to care. 

Subsequent tests were carried out and the researchers found that whether or not there was an element of care, participants who viewed cute images performed better on the tasks they were given.

The researchers also found that looking at cute images narrows the breadth of attention focus and reduces global processing. Therefore participants were able to perform better on tasks that required detailed attention. 

The results are encouraging in the sense that there many areas where these results could be applied. Surgeons viewing cute images may enhance their dexterity. Parents could use cute images to enhance the way they interact with infants.

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Need to write an essay? Go look up some cat memes first!

Article Source: The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus
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 7(9): e46362. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046362

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