Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Science: Watching Animal Videos Could Make You a Better Employee

Image via Linn Currie/

The puppy cam. The kitty camThis. We watch this stuff at work to procrastinate on our work, right?

Not necessarily, it turns out. It turns out, in fact, that looking at images of adorable animals could actually help us be better at our jobs. No, really.

In a study from Hiroshima University, scientists examined the effects of animals' cuteness -- kawaii-- on human behavior. The researchers, Forbes's Alex Knapp reports, conducted three experiments to determine those effects, measuring both subjects' cognition and their dexterity. In the first, they asked participants -- 48 college students -- to play a Japanese game similar to our "Operation." In the second, they asked participants to perform a visual search using number matrices. In the third, they tested participants' focus.

And here is the good news for anyone who has ever gotten lost in the Internet Animal Matrix: In all three experiments, people who looked at pictures of cute baby animals outperformed those who did not. Even more intriguingly, they outperformed people who looked at pictures of adult animals. "Kawaii things not only make us happier, but also affect our behavior," the researchers write in the paper. "This study shows that viewing cute things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional focus."

Those findings, Knapp points out, build on previous work about the beneficial effects of cuteness. A2009 study suggested that simply looking at something cute would make people behave more carefully -- also demonstrated through subjects' dexterity with "Operation" -- than people who weren't under the influence of cuteness. The researchers conducting the earlier study suggested that this could be related to childcare: a response evolved in humans to ensure that we treat babies with extra care.

And while more work needs to be done to say conclusively whether and why cuteness affects our overall productivity, the current findings paint a heartening picture. (Of a cat. Embracing a kitten. Who is dream-twitching.) Which is basically all to say: Go watch that puppy cam feed. You deserve it. And your work demands it.

Follow Excellence in Government on Twitter | Facebook | Google + | LinkedIn

(Image via Linn Currie/

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.